The Latest: Congo dismisses AU request to delay vote results

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo’s disputed presidential election (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

Congo’s government is dismissing a surprise request by the African Union to delay announcing the final results of the disputed presidential election. The AU notes “serious doubts” about the results and is sending a high-level delegation on Monday.

Spokesman Lambert Mende says this is a matter for Congo’s judicial bodies, and “the independence of our judiciary is no problem.”

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He says it is up for judges with the Constitutional Court to respond. The court is poised to rule as early as Friday on a challenge to the presidential election results that alleges fraud.

Mende adds that “we will not refuse contacts with other members of the African Union.”

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10:05 a.m.

An African Union spokeswoman says a high-level delegation is leaving on Monday for Congo after the continental body’s surprise request to suspend the announcement of final election results. The AU cited “serious doubts” about the vote and said it would “urgently dispatch” a delegation.

Ebba Kalondo confirmed the delegation’s departure date to The Associated Press. It will include heads of state.

Congo’s constitutional court is poised to rule as early as Friday on a challenge to the presidential election results. Declared runner-up Martin Fayulu has requested a recount, alleging fraud.

Upholding the official election results could spark violence in a country hoping for its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

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9:15 a.m.

Congo’s constitutional court is poised to rule as early as Friday on a challenge to the presidential election results. But the African Union continental body has issued a surprise last-minute request for Congo’s government to suspend the announcement of final results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote.

Declared runner-up Martin Fayulu has requested a recount, alleging fraud.

Upholding the official election results could spark violence in a country hoping for its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

The AU statement late Thursday said heads of state and government agreed to “urgently dispatch” a high-level delegation to Congo to find “a way out of the post-electoral crisis” in the vast Central African nation rich in the minerals key to smartphones and electric cars around the world.

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