UN Calls for “Credible and Peaceful” DRC Elections

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 8:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Security Council is renewing its call for “credible and peaceful” elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the same day an internationally-respected election monitoring group reports next month's vote faces “serious” credibility threats.

The U.N. said Monday the Security Council was briefed on preparations for the vote scheduled on November 28.

The statement said the Security Council expressed concern over reports of election-related violence in Kinshasa. The council called on the Congolese to campaign peacefully, and stressed the importance of allowing constructive political debate, free speech and assembly, and of protecting everyone involved in the campaigning.

But in a report Monday, the Carter Center said Congo must act urgently to finish preparations and set up protocols to ensure a free and fair vote.

The report said the Independent National Election Commission or CENI needs to get voter cards, ballots and other voting materials distributed across the country, and to dramatically increase voter education. It also said CENI needs to ensure the voter register is transparent and credible.

The report said there have already been “serious incidents” of intimidation and violence at campaign events.

The Carter Center has 20 observers already stationed across Congo. An additional 40 observers will head there in November to monitor the days leading up to the vote and during the counting.

The November elections will include both presidential and parliamentary votes. President Joseph Kabila is running for re-election against a divided opposition.

Mr. Kabila was elected president in the country's first democratic elections in 2006.