Democratic Republic of the Congo: Update of the Secretary-General on progress in the electoral process and the implementation of the political agreement of 31 December 2016 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 31 January 2019 (S/2019/159)

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Letter dated 15 February 2019 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

Pursuant to the request of the Security Council in paragraph 61 of its resolution 2409 (2018), I have the honour to submit a 30-day update, covering the period from 1 to 31 January 2019, on political and technical progress towards the holding of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 23 December 2018 and on obstacles to the implementation of the political agreement of 31 December 2016 (see annex).

I should be grateful if you would bring the present letter and its annex to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

(Signed) António Guterres

Annex

Update of the Secretary-General on progress in the electoral process and the implementation of the political agreement of 31 December 2016 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 31 January 2019

1. The present update, which covers developments from 1 to 31 January 2019, is submitted pursuant to resolution 2409 (2018), in which the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a written update every 30 days on political and technical progress towards the holding of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on obstacles to the implementation of the political agreement of 31 December 2016.

I. Key political developments related to the electoral process and the implementation of the political agreement

2. Political developments following the presidential, legislative and provincial elections of 30 December 2018 centred on the outcome of the polls, which culminated in the inauguration of Félix Tshisekedi as President on 24 January 2019. Electoral observer missions deployed by the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) noted that the elections took place in an overall peaceful atmosphere despite some logistical challenges, gave a generally positive assessment of the use of the voting machines and encouraged parties to address any electoral disputes through existing legal mechanisms.

3. National observer missions deployed by civil society and faith-based organizations, notably the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Synergie des missions d’observation citoyenne des élections, issued preliminary reports on the electoral process following the polls. The Episcopal Conference and Synergie des missions d’observation citoyenne des élections noted the enthusiasm of the population to elect its representatives but enumerated several issues that occurred on election day, including the late opening of some polling stations, the malfunctioning of some voting machines and isolated attempts to coerce voters. The Independent National Electoral Commission indicated that voting hours had been extended for polling stations that had opened after a delay and that technicians had been deployed to repair the faulty machines, noting that the machines had functioned well in 95 per cent of cases.

4. On 3 January, the Secretary-General of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Donatien Nshole, issued a statement in which he noted that the data collected by the Episcopal Conference from tally sheets of polling stations “confirmed the choice of a candidate as President of the Republic”. He also called upon the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish electoral results that “respect truth and justice”. On 4 January, in a letter to the Episcopal Conference, the President of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Corneille Nangaa, denounced the statement of Mr. Nshole, citing the various laws that proscribe the publication of results by any institution other than the Commission. On the same day, the principal diplomatic adviser to former President Joseph Kabila, Barnabé Kikaya Bin Karubi, condemned the Episcopal Conference’s statement, arguing that it had violated the Constitution, the electoral law and the electoral code of conduct. On 5 January, the President of the Episcopal Conference, Marcel Utembi, replied to the Commission’s letter, noting that the Episcopal Conference had not violated any laws and was ready to meet the Commission to discuss the methodology used to compile the results of the polls.

5. Initially scheduled for 6 January, the publication of the provisional results of the elections was postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission until 10 January. Félix Tshisekedi of the Cap pour le changement platform was declared the winner of the presidential election (38.57 per cent), ahead of Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka coalition (34.83 per cent) and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary of the ruling Front commun pour le Congo platform (23.84 per cent). The voter turnout was 47.7 per cent. Initially scheduled to be published on 23 January in accordance with the electoral calendar, the provisional results of the elections for 23 of the 26 provincial assemblies were also released on 10 January. The provisional results of the elections for the remaining three provincial assemblies were announced on 12 January. Initial analysis of the results suggests that the Front commun pour le Congo will likely have the majority of seats in 23 of the 26 provincial assemblies, positioning it to play a decisive role in electing the governors, vice-governors and senators. On 12 January, the Commission also released a provisional list of 485 candidates elected to the National Assembly. The Front commun pour le Congo won more than 330 seats, Cap pour le changement about 50 and Lamuka around 100. At least 50 women were elected to the National Assembly, representing virtually no change in strength from the outgoing legislature. A total of 15 seats have yet to be allocated in the four constituencies of Beni city, Beni territory, Butembo, in North Kivu, and Yumbi territory, in Mai-Ndombe, where elections have been postponed until March.

6. With a few notable exceptions, initial reactions to the announcement of the provisional presidential results were temperate, with supporters of Mr. Tshisekedi gathering for spontaneous celebrations in Kinshasa and a number of cities in the country. Reacting to the election results, Mr. Tshisekedi praised the work of the President of the Independent National Electoral Commission, congratulated the unsuccessful candidates for their participation in the presidential race and affirmed that he would be a president for “all Congolese”. He also paid tribute to former President Kabila. While expressing regret that their candidate had not won the presidential election, senior members of the ruling majority welcomed the provisional results.

7. Mr. Fayulu rejected the provisional results published by the Independent National Electoral Commission, noting that they had “nothing to do with the truth of the ballot box”, and called upon the Congolese people to resist what he described as an “electoral coup”. He also called upon the United Nations, the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, SADC and world leaders to show “solidarity with the Congolese people” as the final election results are established. The Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued a statement in which it noted that the provisional results of the presidential election did not correspond to the data collected by its observers and urged Congolese stakeholders to use legal means to challenge the results. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Belgium and France expressed doubts about the credibility of the results. On 12 January, Mr. Fayulu challenged the provisional results before the Constitutional Court, requesting, inter alia, a vote recount. On the same day, the presidential candidate Théodore Ngoy filed a complaint before the Court in which he protested against the Commission’s decision to postpone the holding of elections in Beni city, Beni territory, Butembo and Yumbi territory. The Front commun pour le Congo did not file any complaint regarding the results of the presidential election.

8. Between 10 and 14 January, following the announcement of the provisional results, isolated violent incidents occurred in Kinshasa and a number of cities in Équateur, Kasai, Kwilu, Haut-Katanga, North Kivu and Tshopo Provinces, resulting in the death and wounding of several people.



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