United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to vote peacefully and in large numbers in Sunday’s constitutional referendum to bring democracy and prosperity to the vast country that has known neither during decades of civil war and factional fighting.
“For the democratic process to succeed, it is essential that the Congolese people play their full part,” Mr. Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman.
The referendum “marks the beginning of the long-awaited electoral process in the country after years of conflict, turmoil and immeasurable suffering,” he added.
“With the full and sustained support of the United Nations and the international community, significant progress has been made towards restoring peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With almost 25 million voters registered, Congolese citizens have clearly demonstrated their desire for their country to join the ever-growing family of democratic States around the world.”
With legislative and presidential elections due before the end of the transition period on 30 June 2006, the electoral process in DRC is the largest and most expensive ever assisted by the world body, expected to cost up to $430 million.