Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be postponed by one week, according to presidential candidates and their aides who were told of the delay.
An opposition presidential candidate told VOA's French to Africa service Thursday the elections, previously scheduled for Sunday, will now take place on December 30. The Reuters news agency cites a senior adviser to President Joseph Kabila (Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi) as giving the same new election date.
Earlier, Congo's top electoral official Corneille Nangaa told presidential candidates that the electoral commission will not be ready to hold the election by the original date.
An opposition candidate who attended the meeting, Theodore Ngoyi, told VOA that Nangaa cited a fire which destroyed hundreds of voting machines in the capital last week as the main reason for the delay. VOA reached out to other opposition candidates to ask about the meeting but they declined to comment.
Electoral officials are expected to hold a news conference in Kinshasa. Congo's polls were originally scheduled to take place in late 2016, but were delayed as President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his second term.
Kabila and Congo's ruling party have endorsed former interior minister Emmanuel Shadary to be Congo's next president. Shadary faces several strong challengers, including Felix Tshisekedi, the head of Congo's biggest opposition party, and Martin Fayulu, a businessman endorsed by a coalition of opposition groups.