Washington calls on Kinshasa to ensure transparency in elections

The United States on Tuesday called on the electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to be transparent in announcing the results of Wednesday’s elections, following missed deadlines in 2019.

While US diplomacy praised the work of the DRC’s electoral commission, “additional measures to ensure the transparency of the electoral process, including clear information on when and how results will be published, would help build confidence,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“We urge all candidates and parties to do their part in promoting fair and free elections, with a peaceful and credible process”, he said, also calling on the government to “maintain freedom of expression”.

In a tense climate, some 44 million voters in the DRC, out of a total population of around 100 million, are called upon on Wednesday to elect their president, national and provincial deputies and, for the first time, communal councillors.

Some 75,000 polling stations are due to open in this immense Central African country, which is almost devoid of road infrastructure.

After the December 2018 elections, the electoral commission said it would announce the results on January 6, but declared Félix Tshisekedi the winner on January 10. His opponent Martin Fayulu then denounced fraud.

However, given the DRC’s violent political past, these elections marked the country’s first peaceful changeover. This year, campaigning took place in relative calm.

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