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Stakes high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s landmark elections 

Posted: 2006-07-14

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is scheduled to hold legislative and presidential elections 30th July 2006, its first democratic polls in 45 years. The event is the culmination of a long, halting process of political transition that came after the precipitous decline in state capacity and legitimacy during the Mobutu era (1965-1996), followed by six years of bitter conflict which dragged in all the DRC’s neighbours. A peace deal to end the war was signed in Lusaka in 1999, but had only been fully implemented by late 2002. In 2003, an interim government took office, headed by President Joseph Kabila, comprising the main warring parties and representatives of the unarmed opposition.

The logistical challenge of staging the 30th July elections, in which 33 candidates compete for the presidency and 9,600 candidates for 500 National Assembly seats, is immense. Should no one presidential candidate secure more than 25 percent of the vote, there will be a second round of voting a few weeks after the first round results have been announced. The Constitution stipulates that the new government, which will be appointed by the elected president, will only become functional once the Senate and National Assembly are also in place, which is thought unlikely to be before early December 2006. This means there will be nearly a six month period between the first casting of ballots and the establishment of a new government, which could contribute to political uncertainty and instability.

Read more in the DRC election package provided by IDEA. It comprises:

For more information, contact Margot Gould, IDEA Programme Officer for the Africa Programme - Tel.: +46-8-698 3723, email: m.gould@idea.int

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