DR Congo schedules presidential election for December 2018
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has set the date for its next presidential election.
The country will vote to elect a new leader in December 2018, more than two years after the poll was originally scheduled to take place. The DRC’s electoral commission has repeatedly pushed back the date of the election, citing financial and logistic challenges as the cause.
The DRC’s delayed election
The DRC has been locked in a political standoff for much of the last year with President Joseph Kabila refusing to step down at the end of his second term. Kabila struck a deal with opposition politicians that he would step down once a new leader is elected but the electoral commission’s continued delays have angered opposition members and supporters.
They accuse the commission of facilitating Kabila’s hold onto power and giving the president time to push for constitutional changes that could allow him to run for a third term.
However, the commission’s move to schedule the election for December 2018 represents a small victory for the opposition. Last month, the commission said it would not be able to hold an election until April 2019 at the earliest due to financial issues. This no longer appears to be the case.
Political tension in the DRC
The DRC’s election delays have aggravated political tensions in the country, which is yet to hand over power peacefully from one leader to another. The nation is still recovering from a bitter civil war and outbreaks of violence regarding the election have killed dozens.
Despite being resource-rich, the DRC struggles with corruption and the country’s citizens are among the poorest in the world. Anti-corruption charity Global Witness estimates that $1.3 billion in mining revenues failed to reach the treasury between 2013 and 2015 alone.
The DRC’s electoral commission estimates that next year’s election will cost $1.8 billion.
Featured image: “Le Président de la République, Joseph Kabila, a pris la parole hier jeudi 25 septembre, à la 69e assemblée générale de l’Onu qui s’est tenue à New-York” flickr photo by MONUSCO https://flickr.com/photos/monusco/15334828496 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license