Congo’s government has said it will be too expensive to hold national elections in 2017, suggesting that an already-delayed vote will be pushed back even further. The country’s budget minister, Pierre Kangudia, said at a press conference in Kinshasa on Wednesday that it would be difficult to raise the funds purportedly needed to hold the vote. “Even if the outlook appears to be improving, it will be difficult to think that we can mobilize $1.8 billion this year,” said Kangudi, according to Radio Okapi, a U.N.-backed Congolese news source.
Articles about voting issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday welcomed a political agreement in Congo calling for President Joseph Kabila to leave power after an election by the end of the year and urged “swift implementation.” The council said in a presidential statement that it was encouraged “by the spirit of flexibility and compromise demonstrated by Congolese political leaders” in reaching the agreement. Council members stressed the importance of the government and its partners taking “all necessary steps to accelerate preparations for the elections without further delays, within the timeframe.”
Congo: Electoral commission shares budget troubles as cost estimated to soar 60% | International Business Times
The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said the nation may struggle to afford the cost of upcoming elections it believes would soar by nearly 60% to $1.8bn (£1.42bn). President Joseph Kabila has been in power since 2001 and served two full terms, as permitted by the Congolese constitution. Kabila is due to stand down in less than a fortnight, but he has been accused of manoeuvring to ensure he can remain in power indefinitely. Diplomats during a UN Security Council briefing on the DRC on 5 December warned of the urgent need to prevent a deadly conflict from blowing up if Kabila does not step down.
A ruling by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top court approving an electoral commission request to postpone the country’s presidential election by 18 months has compounded fears President Joseph Kabila may try to extend his rule for a third term. The constitutional court ruled in favour of the electoral commission on Monday, which filed a petition last month to delay the November poll until April 2018, saying it lacked the funds and time to ensure the registration of all new voters. “After a few hours of [deliberation] DR Congo’s highest court decided to approve the electoral commission’s request, which asked for a deferment of the presidential election that was due to be held before the end of the year,” FRANCE 24’s Thomas Nicolon reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa. “But both the electoral commission and the constitutional court agreed that the enlistment of all new voters was a priority.”
Congo’s constitutional court on Monday approved a controversial request by the electoral commission to postpone November elections so voter registration lists can be updated. Constitutional Court President Benoit Lwamba Bindu said the court recognized there are technical problems and authorized a “reasonable delay.” It said the commission must publish a new electoral calendar for the presidential elections originally scheduled for Nov. 27. Congo’s electoral commission filed a delay petition to the court in September. It has since said elections likely cannot be organized until the end of 2018, raising concerns that tensions and violence will rise.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruling coalition and other smaller parties have agreed to delay next month’s elections to April 2018 – a move that will anger opposition groups who have accused the president of trying to cling onto power. Congo’s main opposition bloc was not immediately available for comment but has already called a general strike for Wednesday to press President Joseph Kabila to leave at the end of his mandate in December. Last month dozens died in two days of protests in the capital Kinshasa against planned delays to the vote due to what authorities said were logistical problems registering millions of voters in the massive and impoverished country.
The fate of DR Congo seems to hinge on President Kabila’s apparent bid to stay in power. Berlin is being asked to help resolve a crisis, as Congolese recall how it financially supported their elections in 2006. No matter which radio station one listens to in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the main issue is the current political crisis and the dialogue which is attempting to resolve it. Everyone is hoping for a breakthrough. But after more than a month since dialogue between government and a section of the opposition began, many questions remain unanswered as the clock ticks toward December 19, the day when President Joseph Kabila term in office officially ends. At the beginning of October, the electoral commission announced that elections would be postponed until December 2018. The commission said it would not be possible to register all voters and then prepare for a poll originally slated for the end of 2016.
Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have delayed elections to make sure the country is better prepared for them, President Joseph Kabila said on Tuesday, answering accusations that the government is dragging its feet to help him to cling onto power. Congo’s electoral commission said on Saturday it expected polls to be delayed until December 2018. “We have decided to delay the elections to avoid locking out a huge number of people – most of them young voters,” Kabila told reporters in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar Es Salaam. “As many as 10 million unregistered voters could miss out on the chance to vote if we proceed with the elections.” Congo has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. Protests over Kabila’s perceived attempts to extend his 15 years in power have led to clashes with security forces several times in the past year. Scores of people have been killed in the violence.
The president of Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission said on Saturday that he expects the presidential election, originally scheduled for this November, to be delayed until December 2018, lawmakers present at his speech said. The announcement is likely to stoke political tensions after at least 50 people died last week in the capital Kinshasa in clashes between protesters and security forces over accusations that President Joseph Kabila is deliberately delaying the poll to cling to power. Kabila denies he is behind the delays, which he says are due to logistical and budgetary constraints in the impoverished, infrastructure-starved country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission on Saturday said it would seek to delay calling voters to the polls until late 2017, though the opposition swiftly rejected the proposal. The announcement came amid opposition fears that President Joseph Kabila will not step down when his term expires in December. “Voters will be called to the polls for the presidential and provincial and national legislative elections simultaneously in November 2017,” electoral commission chief Corneile Naanga told reporters.