Congo Coalition Slams Electoral Body’s Handling of Registration

The largest opposition coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo has criticized the Independent National Electoral Commission, or CENI, for its handling of voter registration.

The Rassemblement, a large platform of opposition political parties, “firmly denounces what appears as the preparation by the CENI of a large-scale fraud in the process of building the new electoral register,” the group said in a statement released Sept. 1. No further information was provided to support the claim.

On Aug. 31, in a joint statement with the government, CENI said the registration process, which started in August 2016, was almost complete and that more than 40.6 million potential voters, or 98.9% of the initial forecast, had been enrolled. The electoral commission also promised that it will shortly publish a “realistic” electoral calendar.

President Joseph Kabila was supposed to step down at the end of his constitutionally limited second term in December 2016, but the vote for his replacement was delayed. Under an agreement struck on New Year’s Eve between Kabila’s parliamentary coalition and opposition groups, including the Rassemblement, elections for president, parliament and provincial offices are meant to take place by year-end.

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