AFRICA/DR CONGO - Need to separate presidential, legislative and local elections to overcome the crisis

Wednesday, 5 October 2016 politics   elections  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, confirmed on October 4 the postponement of the presidential elections which were to be held before 19 December, the expiry date of his second term. Previously the Independent Electoral Commission announced that the elections would be postponed to the end of 2018, after the completion of the revision of the electoral lists (see Fides 03/10/2016).
New protest demonstrations have been announced for October 19 from "Le Rassemblement", the opposition coalition that supports historic leader Etienne Tshisekedi and is not participating in the "national dialogue" between the government and other opposition parties to find a solution to the political crisis. "Le Rassemblement" had launched the protests of September 19, which had degenerated into violent clashes with a toll of more than 50 dead, 127 wounded and 368 arrests. "Le Rassemblement" has however expressed its willingness to "a genuine inclusive dialogue" to resolve the crisis
According to a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Peace Network for Congo, "the solution to the crisis could be the search for a compromise between the two positions on the question of the date of the next presidential elections which should be organized on a date that comes as close as possible to that laid down by the Constitution, now impossible to respect". In order for elections to take place as soon as possible, it would be necessary to organize them with priority, separating the elections from legislative and local elections. In addition, the possibility of shortening, to the extent possible, the time needed for the elaboration of the electoral register could be taken into consideration.
Thus, it would be possible to organize the presidential elections in the year 2017, on a date that does not exceed the months of October or November. "It is a realistic possibility, because the electoral register would already be available from June-July, the election district would only be one and would not require, therefore, the operation of distribution of seats according to various election districts, the amount of material would be reduced in the presidential election and would require only a relatively short time both for its production and for its territorial distribution. The training of electoral agents could be held simultaneously with other logistical operations", the statement concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/10/2016)