The head of the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo warned Thursday that the right conditions are not yet in place for presidential elections this December, and without progress, the credibility of the vote could be compromised. “As violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to impact negatively on democratic space, some peaceful demonstrations are suppressed,” U.N. envoy Leila Zerrougui told Security Council members. “Civil society actors and political opponents continue to be arbitrarily arrested and media workers threatened.” Zerrougui said the parties have not implemented confidence-building measures, and the security situation, particularly in the eastern part of the country, remains volatile and is deteriorating in some areas.
The envoy did welcome progress on the registration of candidates for provincial elections, noting that after a slow start, 18,000 candidates have registered to compete for 715 seats. But she noted that women make up only about 12 percent of candidates, and she urged greater female participation in the elections.
The U.N. has a mission of more than 18,000 peacekeepers in the DRC. The Security Council has authorized it to provide logistical support to the elections, but so far, the electoral commission has not taken up that offer.
Full Article: UN: Right Conditions Needed for Credible Elections in DRC.