DRC - 2018 Election Candidate Registration Begins
Candidate registration for the overdue presidential elections in DRC opened this week. Aspirants have until August 8th to file their candidacy.
Incumbent President Kabila is not eligible to stand, as he has served two terms in office. His refusal to personally deny rumours that he intends to seek an unconstitutional third term, along with the repeated delays to the timing of the polls that were originally due in 2016, have fuelled suspicion regarding his plans.
Opposition parties are attempting to up pressure on Kabila to stand aside, however, and earlier this week they released a joint statement committing to “hinder any electoral process driven unilaterally by Kabila’s camp and based on fraud”. Yesterday the US also added its voice to the debate, urging Kabila to confirm that he does not intend to stand.
"We expect President Kabila to abide by the DRC constitution and the December 2016 agreement. He is not eligible under Congolese law to seek a third term," UN Security Council, US Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Cohen said.
Meanwhile the head of the UN mission to DRC warned that the right conditions for elections are not yet in place. "As violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to impact negatively on democratic space, some peaceful demonstrations are suppressed," U.N. envoy Leila Zerrougui stated. She also warned that "Civil society actors and political opponents continue to be arbitrarily arrested and media workers threatened."
Several opposition candidates are expected to file their candidacy in the coming fortnight, including the son of the late Etienne Tshisekedi, Felix Tshisekedi. Former Kabila ally Moise Katumbi and former presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba have also made clear their intentions to contest the polls. However, both must return to the country in order to do so.