DRC presidential election postponed for at least a week.

As DR Congo elections were scheduled to take place on December 23, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission(CENI) announced today to the presidential candidates that it is “technically unable” to organize the elections on December 23, 2018, one Congolese newspaper reports.

Corneille Nangaa, president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), announced to the presidential candidates the postponement of the poll scheduled for 23 December.

“The CENI has informed us that it is technically unable to organize the elections on December 23”, said Théodore Ngoy, presidential candidate, at the end of the meeting organized at the Palais du Peuple.

According to a Guardian report, the elections may have been postponed for at least one week. The Independent National Electoral Commission said it was unable to organize the vote on time and the poll would now take place about seven days later than planned.

Candidates received a text message telling them the CENI president, Corneille Nangaa, had decided the commission was “technically unable” to hold the election as scheduled.

The delay may anger supporters of the DRC’s fractured opposition and dismay observers who hoped the election would bring a measure of security to the country. It is also likely to spark tensions and could prompt significant protests.

The  Opposition dismayed by the CENI statement and protests any vote postponement.

Ngoy added that the board president Corneille Nangaa cited a fire last week that destroyed ballot papers, an ongoing Ebola outbreak, and ethnic violence as reasons for delaying the vote.

Earlier, another candidate Martin Fayulu told Reuters it would be unacceptable for the election to be pushed back.

“The CENI president said there will be an election rain or shine on the 23rd of December,” Fayulu said. “We cannot accept a change of Mr. Nangaa’s position today.”

Fayulu also criticized Wednesday’s decision by the governor of the capital city, Kinshasa, to suspend campaigns.

That decision was “manifestly illegal, we can’t respect it,” said Fayulu.

The election is meant to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down after 18 years in power, in what would be Congo’s first democratic transition.

Preparations for Sunday’s vote, already postponed repeatedly since 2016, were disrupted by a fire last week which the commission said destroyed 80 percent of Kinshasa’s voting machines.

 

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