The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today called on the country’s electoral authorities to review the issues raised by independent observers about the recent DRC presidential and parliamentary polls, saying there were “significant irregularities” in the results process.
The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) said in a press release that it strongly urged the DRC’s Independent National Electoral Commission (known by its French acronym, CENI) to undertake “a timely and rigorous review” of the issues raised, particularly regarding the counting and tabulation of votes.
It said the review should have “the full participation of witnesses and observers, including foreign observer groups, who may offer to provide technical advice.”
MONUSCO’s statement noted that the Carter Center International Election Observation Mission in the DRC and other observer missions had issued statements voicing concern about the management process,
The mission added that it calls on CENI “to ensure that all counting, compilation and verification operations under way to determine the results of National Assembly elections are conducted in a fully transparent manner,” and to undertake corrective measures for future elections.
It also reiterated its call for all parties to settle election disputes peacefully through the country’s established institutions, including the National Mediation Committee, and for the Supreme Court of Justice to thoroughly and transparently handle all formal challenges.
Congolese went to the polls on 28 November to cast their ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections in what was only the country’s second multi-party vote since independence from Belgium in 1960.
There are an estimated 32 million registered voters in DRC. Eleven candidates ran for the presidency and 18,864 candidates competed for seats in the National Assembly, double the number that ran in 2006, according to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRC and head of MONUSCO, Roger Meece.
In response to the threat of election-related violence, MONUSCO also called upon all members of the political establishment to refrain from inciting confrontation against opponents and urged law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint when dealing with public demonstrations.
The UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in DRC, which has been monitoring election-related violence, is investigating reports that more than 10 people have allegedly been killed by security forces and supporters of political parties, and many more wounded through the use of live ammunition, in the capital, Kinshasa, since 26 November.