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It’s Official: DR Congo Sets Presidential Election For December 2018

The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Sunday that the long-awaited presidential elections to replace President Joseph Kabila would take place on December 23, 2018.

Around 43 million voters have been registered by the electoral body for the vote.

 
President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila attends a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa in June 2017 (AFP Photo)

 

The results of the December 2018 vote will be published on January 9, 2019, and the president to be sworn in on January 13.

The country’s election  which were initially  scheduled for late 2016, have repeatedly been cancelled.

The delays have triggered unrest in the central African nation, raising fears of the country slipping back to civil unrest that has killed millions.

The electoral commission had said last month that the presidential vote could not take place until April 2019 at the earliest, and the opposition had warned that the population would “take matters into its own hands”, Reuters reports.

Opposition leaders reacted furiously to the new date.

“The predatory regime wants to prolong the instability and misery of the people. We do not accept this fantasy calendar,” exiled opposition leader Moise Katumbi tweeted.

Civil society activist organization Lucha on Twitter also condemned the announcement.

Dozens died in protests against Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate last December.

Political violence and government repression intensified in 2016 as President Joseph Kabila failed to step down after his term came to an end in December 19, 2016.

U.S. envoy Nikki Haley said during a meeting with Kabila last month that the vote must happen in 2018 or it will lose international support.

Kabila has ruled DR Congo since his father was assassinated in 2001. He says delays are owing to problems registering millions of voters across the country.

Opponents say he is using them to eventually remove term limits that prevent him from standing again, as presidents in neighboring Rwanda and Congo Republic have done. He denies that, but has not categorically said he will step aside, the report said.

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