The United Nations Security Council has called for continuous dialogue and transparency with all political stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following the postponement of presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections, until December 30.
The polls, previously scheduled for Sunday December 23 were delayed by the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).
Taking note of the CENI decision, the 15-member Council “expressed hope that this delay will permit the creation of favorable conditions for the Congolese people to express themselves freely” on the revised date.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country, has never witnessed a peaceful transfer of power. The CENI last week ordered the postponement of presidential, legislative and provincial elections saying a warehouse fire had destroyed voting materials in the capital city, Kinshasa.
The Security Council said MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, “will provide support if requested.”
President Kabila’s administration has several times said it wants to organize the elections without financial aid or logistical support from the European Union or the UN.
The UN also “called on all parties to engage peacefully and constructively in the electoral process,” to ensure “a transfer of power in accordance with the Congolese Constitution and the 31 December 2016 Agreement.”
The vote was initially supposed to be held in late 2016, but was postponed because the electoral commission could not arrange it in time — a delay the opposition said was intentional to extend Kabila’s rule.