The Election Battle in the DRC

October 3, 2016

 

Recently the Congo Research Group (CRG) produced a new report, which sheds light on the looming crisis that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is currently facing in regards to its electoral process. Although elections were expected to be held in December 2016, both the government and the opposition are involved in the creation of “artificial delays” that will force the election back some time. Many local and foreign actors involved have deemed the situation “both a constitutional and legal crisis” for the DRC. The consequences that the situation poses are viewed as critical threats to the health of democracy within the state, as the state must choose to either continue forward with a somewhat flawed electoral process or to push back the elections in order to reform the system. The Congo Research Group reports in the article, that “most election experts agree that revision the deeply flawed electoral register will take at least 8 month pushing the electoral calendar into 2017”. Many institutions and actors within the DRC are concerned that these electoral issues have the potential to “erode the democratic institutions set up by the peace process and could potentially destabilize the country”.  Yet, this situation is unfortunately only the beginning of the problems that the DRC has involving their electoral process. Despite many Western actors such as the United States and the World Bank imposing sanctions and withholding funds, many observers of the crisis believe that the call to establish a new electoral calendar is only the first step. The CRG reports that while the “electoral crisis is of the governments making…analysis of the institutions responsible for holding elections shows a disturbing political bias in the election commission, the courts, and the media”. In the months to come, negotiations made by the government, institutions, and other actors involved will be critical for the future od democracy within the DRC.

 

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