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List of presidential candidates finalised but still no election date

KINSHASA, 25 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - President Joseph Kabila and three of his four vice-presidents are on the final list of 33 presidential candidates published by the Democratic Republic of Congo's Independent Electoral Commission, known by its French acronym CEI.

However, the CEI did not announce an election date when it published the list on Saturday in an official newspaper, a move that is causing anxiety regarding the start of election campaigns. Under the country's law, campaigns should begin a day after the publication of a definite candidates' list and the campaign period must be over 30 days before the elections.

On Monday, the CEI appealed to the Supreme Court to decide the elections campaigns issue, which should have started but have been delayed, as the voting date remains undetermined.

"We have appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice because we have not yet fixed an election date and we do not want any future decision to be questioned," Apolinnaire Malumalu, the CEI president, said.

Raphael Lubulu, the rapporteur of the National Assembly, said: "Since the election date is not known, the electoral campaign cannot begin."

One name missing from the presidential candidates' list is that of Etienne Tshisekedi, the leader of the country's main opposition, the Democratic Union for Social Progress (UDPS). He has not yet submitted his candidature; neither have his supporters for the parliamentary elections. The UDPS is demanding the reopening of voter registration and to be included in the institutions charged with organising the elections.

With wide support from UDPS members mainly based in the province of Kasai, Tshisekedi, a 75-year-old professor in customary law, has asked his supporters to boycott the elections if the UDPS demands are not met. Tshisekedi is a long-time member of the opposition and once served as prime minister under the late President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Despite Tshisekedi's absence, several other opponents are on the final list of 33 candidates. These include Antoine Gizenga, 80, who was deputy prime minister under the government of Emery Patrice Lumumba during the post-independence period in 1960. As leader of the Unified (Palu) Lumumbist Party, Gizenga has been active in the opposition since then.

Also on the list is Joseph Olengahnkoy, leader of the Forces Novatrices pour l'Union et la Solidarité (FONUC); as is Zanga Mobutu, a son of Mobutu. A woman, Catherine Nzuzi Wa Mbombo, leader the Popular Movement of the Revolution; and Gen Likulia Bolongo, the last prime minister under Mobutu, are also on the list.

These candidates are up against President Kabila, who is contesting as an independent. Kabila, who turns 35 in June, is supported by his political party, the People's Party for Development and Reconstruction, which has social democratic leanings. Kabila has been in power since 16 January 2001 following the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Desire Kabila. The older Kabila was shot dead by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001.

The older Kabila had led a rebellion, under the Alliance of Democratic and Liberation Forces, which succeeded in overthrowing Mobutu after 32 years in power. Ugandan and Rwandan forces supported Kabila. His son, Joseph, was a "major-general" in his guerrilla army and retained the rank after becoming president.

On the list of candidates are also the three vice-presidents and leaders of former rebel movements, Jean-Pierre Bemba, 44, leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo; and Azarias Ruberwa, 42, leader of the Congolese Assembly for Democracy; and Arthur Z'Ahidi Congo of the Camp de la Patrie.

Below is the CEI list of the 33 presidential candidates:

1. Kasonga Banyingela - Alliance des Paysans et Ecologistes (APE)

2. Jean Pierre Gombo Bemba - Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC)

3. Alou Kalokola Bonioma - Independent

4. Eugene Ndongala Diomi - Démocratie Chrétienne (DC)

5. Antoine Gizenga - Parti Lumumbiste Unifié (PALU)

6. Bernard Emmanuel Suila - Union Socialiste Libérale (USL)

7. Joseph Kabange Kabila - Independent

8. Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda - Front Commun de Nationalistes (FCN/Me Ka)

9. Oscar Lukumuenda Kashala - U.R.E.C et Alliés (UA)

10. Norbet Bolongo Likulia - Independent

11. Roger Lumbala - Rassemblement des Congolais Démorates (RCD-N)

12. Patrice Guy Lumumba - Independent

13. Vincent de Paul Lunda-Bululu - Rassemblement des Forces Sociales et Fédéralistes (RSF)

14. Pierre Anatole Malungeni ne kongo Matusila - Independent

15. Christophe N'kodia Pwanga Mboso - Convention pour la République et la Démocratie (CRD)

16. Antipas Nyamwisi Mbusa - Forces du Renoveau

17. Alafuele Kalala Mbuyi - Rassemblement pour une Nouvelle Société (RNS)

18. Francois Joseph Nzanga Ngbangawe Mobutu - Union des Démocrates Mobutistes (UDEMO)

19. Florentin Bonza Mokonda - Convention des Démocrates Chrétiens (CDC)

20. Timothee Nzulama Moleka - Union de Peuple pour la Paix et l'Agape (UPPA)

21. Justine Kasa-Vubu M'poyo - Mouvement des Démocrates (MD)

22. Jonas Kadiata Nzemba Mukamba - Alliance de Démocrates Congolais (ADECO)

23. Paul Joseph Mutombo Mukungubila - Independent

24. Osee Ndjoko Muyima - Renouveau pour le Developpment et la Démocratie (R2D)

25. Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma - Camp de la Patrie

26. Jacob Souga Niemba - Coalition Politique de Chrétiens (CPC)

27. Marie Therese Mpolo Nene Nlandu - Parti pour la Paix au Congo (CONGO-PA)

28. Wivine Kavidi N'landu - Union pour la Défence de la République (UDR)

29. Catherine Marthe wa Mbombo Nzuzi - Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution "Fait Prive" (MPR)

30. Joseph Mukundji Olenghankoy - Forces Novatrices pour l'Union et la Solidarité (FONUC)

31. Pierre wa Syakassighe Pay-Pay - Coalition de Démocrates Congolais (CODECO)

32. Azarias Manywa Ruberwa - Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD)

33. Hassan Uba Thassinda Thassinda - Congrées Africain des Démocrates (CAD)

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