AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Bishops: "transition period will have to end in 2017; majority and the opposition may find agreement"

Monday, 24 October 2016 politics   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The Congolese Bishops "take note of the resolutions" of the two meetings that were held recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo to lead the Country out of the serious crisis caused by the failure to meet the constitutional deadline for the holding of presidential elections by December 2016.
The two meetings refer to the one held on October 4 by "Le Rassemblement", calling for respect of the period provided for by the Constitution, and that of 18 October, between the presidential majority and the part of the opposition that participated in the national dialogue, in which it was decided to hold elections by April 2018 (see Fides 18/10/2018).
"We take note of the resolutions of these meetings that can contribute to solving the crisis" the Bishops said in the message issued after the meeting of the Bishops' Conference Committee that follow the election process.
According to the Bishops, in spite of everything, there are "points of convergence" between the two parties "that have to be taken into account to find a peaceful way out of the crisis".
Among the common points there are: the awareness of the deteriorating socio-economic situation and the Country's security; the commitment to respect the Constitution; the recognition of the need for a transition period to reach elections (also "Le Rassemblement," despite the rhetoric, is aware that the December deadline is impossible to meet).
The message, however, remembers what the points of divergence are: duration of the transitional period; management of power during a transition not provided for by the Constitution; separation of presidential elections from local legislative elections.
The Bishops hope that all parties reach an agreement under which the transitional period ends by 2017, while the government of national unity that will govern the Country at this stage will have to "organize the elections, ensuring fundamental freedoms, including that of expression, restoring State authority throughout the national territory and improve the conditions of the population". It must also "clearly mention that the current President will not candidate himself for a third term, in accordance with Article 220 of the Constitution".
On 20 November, at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, a solemn prayer for peace and national reconciliation will be held throughout the DRC. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/10/2016)