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UN Envoy Demands Transparency in DRC Elections


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) –  Ms Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative and head of the Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO) to Democratic Republic of  Congo (DRC), says conditions for a level playing field are not yet in place for the upcoming elections in that country.

Zerrougui told the UN Security Council that major progress had been made on preparations for the elections although credibility was still at risk.

She expressed concern at the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, noting that this had continued to impact negatively on democratic space as some peaceful demonstrations were suppressed.

She also said that civil society actors and political opponents continued to be arbitrarily arrested and media workers threatened.

“Thus, conditions for a level playing field are not yet in place, and without progress on these fronts, the credibility and inclusivity of upcoming elections may be at risk.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo is at the crossroads.

“That’s the reason for which I appeal to all stakeholders to seize this opportunity to allow for inclusive, transparent and credible elections on 23 December to provide a more stable future for the DRC, Congolese women and Congolese,’’ she said.

She noted that preparations had reached an important turning point with the opening on Wednesday of candidate reception offices for presidential and legislative elections due to take place on Dec. 23, 2018.

“While significant progress has been made to respect the stages of the calendar process, the electoral process continues to suffer from suspicion and mistrust between the majority and the opposition, and, between the opposition and the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI),” she said.

The opposition had, however, expressed multiple grievances, she added, including over voting machinery and electoral records.

“I am, however,  encouraged to note that in the face of disagreements highlighted above, and against the backdrop of immense logistical and financial challenges, all major political parties were able to successfully enrol candidates for provincial legislative elections,” she said.

The UN envoy said after a slow start, more than 18,000 candidates for office registered in order to contest 715 seats.

While the final tally was yet to be published, initial indications suggested that women made up less than 12 per cent of all registered candidates, she said.

She urged political parties to ensure greater female representation and participation in forthcoming elections./(NAN)

 

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