Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Pictures Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
The Electoral Dilemma

Previous article | Next

International Crisis Group - May 5, 2011

Elections au Congo

Faced with the dilemma of respecting the constitutional deadline and organising botched elections, or ignoring that deadline and sliding into a situation of unconstitutional power, the Congolese authorities have chosen the first option.

Congo: The Electoral Dilemma, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the circumstances under which the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is preparing for its second set of democratic elections. Technical preparations are lagging. Neither the new electoral law, the voters list nor the budget are ready. Registration is already controversial, funding of the electoral cycle is incomplete, and the electoral calendar is problematic. President Joseph Kabila’s ruling party has launched its campaign before the official start of the electoral season, while the opposition is still struggling to find its “champion” for the presidential contest.

“Instead of signalling a consolidation of democracy, the elections present at best a logistical problem, at worst a new cause of destabilisation for a country still recovering from the wars that cost millions of lives at the end of the Mobutu era”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Senior Congo Analyst. 

Congolese politicians and the international community should anticipate now the very real possibility that the constitutional deadline cannot be met, despite the calendar the Electoral Commission recently released. Negotiating a transition agreement with the opposition, setting a deadline for organising the elections and limiting the business of government to routine matters during the transition would avoid having an unconstitutional postponement of the elections become a crisis of legitimacy.

Although the international community’s role is much more restricted in this electoral cycle than it was in 2006, when Congolese voted for the first time after the overthrow of Mobutu and the wars that followed, it should make clear to the political class that a deferred election would be better than a flawed one. Moreover, if the government does not take concrete steps to strengthen the electoral process, foreign partners should disengage so as not to lend it an aura of legitimacy.

The only way out of this Catch-22 situation is to both speed up preparations and negotiate an emergency electoral calendar and a political agreement to manage the postponement and consequent transition period that are likely to be necessary. More attention must also be paid to putting in place essential measures for transparency and inclusiveness, as well as a security system that will ultimately require important UN help.

In order not to become trapped in a biased process that could all too easily become as violent as that which Côte d’Ivoire recently experienced, the international community’s technical and financial assistance should be contingent on constant and precise monitoring of freedom to campaign, respect for political pluralism, political violence, access to state media, dialogue with the Congolese authorities and state funding for the Electoral Commission, as well as the opportunity for civil society groups to do their own monitoring of the process.

“The electoral dilemma the authorities face could spread to the streets, and if the present electoral calendar is not respected, the unconstitutional postponement of the vote will become a crisis of legitimacy”, says Central Africa Project Director Thierry Vircoulon. “While many bad features of the 2006 elections have disappeared, one remains the same: Congolese elections always pose a risk”.


Related articles


  1. DR Congo Takes Chairmanship of COMESA at Summit in Kinshasa (February 26, 2014)
  2. DR Congo Honors Nelson Mandela, Hero and Model for Humanity (December 6, 2013)
  3. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  4. DR Congo Eases Process for Starting a New Business (June 3, 2013)
  5. Regional Leaders Sign DR Congo Peace Deal (February 24, 2013)
  6. The M23 Rebels Want to Overthrow Kabila? Nonsense (November 28, 2012)
  7. Protests Against M23 Rebels, Government and UN Spread (November 22, 2012)
  8. Thousands Protest M23 Capture of Goma, Turn on Government and UN (November 21, 2012)
  9. DR Congo Officials Vow to Defend Goma Against M23 Rebels (November 19, 2012)
  10. At high-level meeting, Ban urges political solution to crisis in eastern DR Congo (September 27, 2012)
  11. US Cuts Military Aid to Rwanda Over Support to Rebels in DR Congo (July 21, 2012)
  12. DR Congo, Rwanda Sign Pact to Fight Rebels in Eastern Congo (July 15, 2012)
  13. Police Investigate Former Prime Minister for Corruption (May 14, 2012)
  14. Kabila Names Members of New Government (April 30, 2012)
  15. Kabila Names Finance Minister as New Prime Minister (April 19, 2012)
  16. Kabila's Position on The Arrest of Ntaganda 'Has Not Changed' (April 13, 2012)
  17. Kabila Insists on Military Discipline as Mutiny Fades (April 11, 2012)
  18. Kabila, Army Chief of Staff head to eastern Congo to deal with defectors (April 10, 2012)
  19. DR Congo's Government Resigns (March 6, 2012)
  20. Opposition Supporters Step Up Attacks on Congolese Officials Abroad (February 28, 2012)
  21. Tshisekedi Leaves 'House Arrest' to Meet German Ambassador (February 27, 2012)
  22. Kabila Is Open to Dialogue with Tshisekedi, Government Spokesman Says (February 22, 2012)
  23. Kabila's Senior Advisor Katumba Mwanke Dies in Plane Crash (February 12, 2012)
  24. Cardinal Monsengwo to Lead Annual Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican (February 11, 2012)
  25. Kabila's Party Loses Seats in Parliament, Increasing Reliance on Allies (February 3, 2012)
  26. Tshisekedi's Call for General Strike Largely Ignored (January 31, 2012)
  27. Tshisekedi Says He Will Form His Government Next Week (January 21, 2012)
  28. Congolese Have Lost Confidence in the Electoral Commission, Catholic Bishops Say (January 13, 2012)
  29. Senate Chief Hospitalized in Paris After Attack (January 2, 2012)
  30. Tshisekedi Stages Self-Inauguration at Home (December 23, 2011)


Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
 


Make Congo Planet Your Home Page | Facebook | Twitter | Contact Us | About Us | Version en Francais | French Edition

© 2014 CongoPlanet.com. All rights reserved.