DRC: Kabila’s coalition wins clear majority in senate elections

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The coalition party led by former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila won a decisive majority in senate elections on Friday.

The result further increases the influence of the country’s previous leader over the new government and recently-elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, who surprisingly won last year’s controversial presidential election. Critics suggest Joseph Kabila has engineered a path for him to retain control over the government after constitutional term limits prevented him from running for a third term last year.

FCC wins decisive senate majority

“The Common Front for Congo (FCC), which hails this resounding victory, confirms its supremacy as the premier political force in Democratic Republic of Congo,” national coordinator for the ruling coalition, Nehemie Mwilanya, said in a statement on Friday.

New president Felix Tshisekedi’s surprise election win was undermined by accusations of election fraud and suspicion he had struck a deal with Joseph Kabila to secure the victory. His leadership was promptly compromised when the FCC won a 70 percent majority of seats in the lower house of parliament in provincial elections also held on December 30 last year.

Now, the FCC has also won an overwhelming majority of seats in the senate and Joseph Kabila is automatically granted a seat in the upper chamber as a former president.

In the DRC, the political party with a parliamentary majority retains a strong influence over government decisions and the FCC’s senate majority further limits the powers of Felix Tshisekedi.

Critics suggest the new president will be unable to implement any political changes without the approval of Kabila’s FCC coalition, effectively reducing his role to a ceremonial leader.

Featured image: By John Bopengo – https://www.flickr.com/photos/monusco/46475092952/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75458327

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.