The United States urged the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday to scrap plans to use electronic voting for the first time in elections this year, saying it risked undermining the credibility of the historic polls. After much delay, the DR Congo will hold elections on December 23 that are expected to pave the way to the first peaceful transfer of power in the vast mineral-rich country, ending President Joseph Kabila’s 17-year-rule. US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a Security Council informal meeting that the election commission’s plan to use electronic voting for the first time posed “an enormous risk. These elections must be held by paper ballot so there is no question by the Congolese people about the result,” said Haley. “The US has no appetite to support an electronic voting system.”
Articles about voting issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
DR Congo’s long-delayed election due on December 23 to choose a successor to long-serving ruler Joseph Kabila will not take place without electronic voting machines, the poll chief said Tuesday. “Without voting machines, there will be no elections on December 23, 2018,” election commission head Corneille Nangaa told AFP, speaking on phone from New York. The threat came a day after the United States, France, Britain and four other UN Security Council members called on Kabila to publicly declare that he will not run for election this year.
DR Congo’s electoral body trumpeted on Tuesday the arrival of the first voting machines from South Korea for long-delayed elections that the government has pledged to hold in December. The vote is supposed to bring about the belated departure of President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, who was supposed to step down last year but postponed the polls. But it remains unclear if the 45 million Congolese voters who registered in 2017 will finally get to choose a new president, deputies and elected representatives in the vote set for December 23, 2018. “The first lot of eight voting machines were received today for the purpose of civic and electoral education of the Congolese,” said the National Electoral Commission (CENI), adding that the devices would help reduce election fraud.
The opposition in Democratic Republic of Congo said Wednesday it had garnered enough signatures to challenge a new electoral reform, which it says is buttressing the ruling party of President Joseph Kabila. Opposition spokesman Christophe Lutundula said the reform “automatically” banned certain hopefuls from running against Kabila in the next election, scheduled for December 23, 2018. The opposition says the law automatically excludes certain candidates by setting a minimum threshold of the share of the national vote that a candidate must win in order to obtain a seat. They also dispute the use of voting machines in ballot stations and the high deposit that candidates must pay, equivalent to several hundred dollars.
The European Union yesterday (11 December) warned Democratic Republic of Congo it would cut off help to hold elections next year if the authorities failed to end “harassment” of the opposition and civil society. In a statement, the 28-nation bloc said it was “critical” for the Kinshasa government to uphold the timetable of the much-delayed elections. Elections were scheduled to be held by the end of 2017, under a political deal with the opposition aimed at avoiding bloodshed.
Democratic Republic of Congo has said elections to replace President Joseph Kabila will take place by December 2018, a year later than scheduled. Following is an explanation why the decision is so important for DRC’s political crisis: A mineral-rich country a quarter the size of Europe, but mired in poverty and corruption, scarred by ethnic divisions and fighting in its east, DRC is one of Africa’s most volatile nations. The present crisis brewed after Kabila refused to step down last December on the expiry of his second and final term in office. The 46-year-old has been president since 2001, taking over from assassinated father, Laurent.
Congo’s electoral commission announced on Sunday that long-awaited presidential elections to replace President Joseph Kabila would take place on December 23, 2018. Around 43 million voters have been registered for the vote so far, Corneille Nangaa told a news conference in Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. The election will be held on December 23, 2018, with the results to be published on January 9, 2019, and the president to be sworn in on January 13, another official from the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), Jean Pierre Kalamba, told the same news conference.
Election ballots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can look more like the weekend edition of a newspaper than the single folded sheet of paper common the United States. Congolese electoral laws allow a nearly unlimited number of candidates to run for parliament. In the coming election, now pushed to 2019, there may be as many as 28,000 candidates, each one with their name and photo printed in a ballot. The expense and logistical difficulties of printing and distributing 45 million of these massive ballots are nearly insurmountable. After they’re printed, ballots must be trucked or flown to 126,000 polling stations around the country. The electoral commission has yet to acquire the necessary funds, and the voter registry isn’t complete. Or at least, these are some of the official reasons given for why Congo will not be holding elections for another year and a half, according to a source familiar with the election process who requested not to be named.
The election to pick DR Congo’s next president will not happen before early 2019, the electoral commission said Wednesday, a delay that raises fresh security worries in the vast African nation. Polls were due this year under a transitional deal aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his second mandate ended in December. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said Wednesday it would need another 504 days to prepare for the vote after the completion of an electoral census, which is far from accomplished in the restive Kasai region. The delay could be reduced “if we accept to use voting machines and if we change the electoral law,” a commission spokesman told AFP.
The U.N. Security Council urged Congo’s government on Wednesday to swiftly implement an agreement to hold presidential elections by the end of the year, warning that failure to do so will increase the risk of insecurity and instability in the country and the region. The head of Congo’s electoral commission announced July 7 that it would not be possible to organize a presidential ballot by the Dec. 31 deadline. Congo law bars President Joseph Kabila from seeking another term but allows him to remain in power until another election can be held. A presidential statement approved by all 15 council nations insists that the deadline be kept and urges key players “to organize peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely elections” leading to a peaceful transfer of power.