DRC: Electoral commission may delay election result

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) electoral commission says it may have to postpone the publication of provisional results for the country’s long-awaited presidential election.

The commission’s chairman said on Thursday that the panel is doing everything it can to publish the results on January 6 but warned it may have to delay the announcement. Suspicion is growing among opposition groups and supporters that the outcome will be rigged in favour of the country’s ruling coalition.

DRC election result could be delayed

“We are working around the clock,” Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI), said in a public statement on Thursday. “We are doing our best to publish the results on January 6 – but if we can’t, we can’t.”

The commission is due to announce provisional results on January 6 and then publish the final outcome on January 15, three days before the country’s new president is scheduled to be sworn in.

Outgoing president Joseph Kabila should have stepped down in December 2016 but the electoral commission said it wasn’t equipped to hold an election. Kabila invoked a caretaker clause in the constitution that allowed him to stay in power until a new leader could be elected, prompting demonstrations across much of the country.

Dozens of people were killed in violent crackdowns by security forces over a two-year period in which the electoral commission twice pushed back the proposed date for a presidential election. After announcing it wouldn’t be ready to hold an election until 2019, the commission set a date of December 23, 2018, for the vote and then delayed the election by a further week in the build-up to the poll.

Opposition groups say the government is attempting to secure an election win for ruling coalition candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, before naming Joseph Kabila as their candidate once again in the country’s next election.

Featured image: flickr photo by MONUSCO https://flickr.com/photos/monusco/32109067714 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.