The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold postponed elections in December, a spokesman for the ruling coalition said in a bid to allay fears of more of the delays that have previously sparked fatal protests. “No other solution is possible in the current electoral process except the organization in December 2018 of presidential, national and provincial elections,” the Presidential Majority’s Andre-Alain Atundu told reporters Thursday. There’s “abundant proof” of President Joseph Kabila’s determination to hold the polls, Atundu said, pointing to the government financing the electoral commission’s preparations. Elections were supposed to take place before the end of Kabila’s second term in December 2016, but the vote wasn’t organized in time. The president remained in office despite the two-term limit in Congo’s constitution, sparking protests in which many were killed by security forces. The central African nation, which gained independence from Belgium almost six decades ago, has never had a peaceful transfer of power.
The electoral commission, known by its French acronym CENI, has scheduled polls for Dec. 23. Kabila’s refusal to indicate who will be the Presidential Majority’s candidate for head of state has fueled fears he will seek to change the constitution to run again, or push back the elections.
“When the time comes, the Presidential Majority will have its candidate who will submit their candidacy to CENI,” Atundu said. Those aspiring to the presidency must file their applications between July 25 and Aug. 8, according to CENI’s calendar.