Campaigning season has started in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will hold its long overdue Presidential and National Assembly elections on December 23rd 2018. Incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, will not be participating in the election as he has served out his two terms (ten years). Kabila is accused of controversially delaying the elections by two years since his mandate expired in 2016 but because of funding issues the polls could only take place this year. Around 40 million people are expected to cast their vote.
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary will represent Kabila’s Peoples Party For Reconstruction and Democracy. Martin Fayulu will lead the opposition coalition, which has since been segmented after Felix Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe, both influential opposition figures, pulled out of the coalition agreement. They are both expected to run for President.
Former Vice President, Jean Pierre Bemba, and exiled former governor of Katanga Province, Moise Katumbi, were denied eligibility to stand in this election by the country’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This election will use electronic voting machines. These have been resisted by the opposition, who fear the machines can be manipulated in favour of the ruling party.
Five hundred National Assembly seats will also be contested during the December 23rd elections.