Examining three years (June 2003 – June 2006) in the Congolese electoral process ahead of the 30 July 2006 presidential and general elections, this report in the Analysis series studies the complex situation, identifying the internal and external players. Amidst cooperation and complementarity, but also confrontation, progress has been made in the electoral process – formulating a legal framework for the elections, registering voters, approving the Constitution by referendum and promulgation of the electoral law.
Since publication of the electoral timetable for elections on 30 July 2006, the preparations speeded up under the watchful eye of the Independent Electoral Committee (CEI) with the adoption of lists of candidates, the approval and printing of voting cards, raising awareness among the general population, and mobilising the international community to ensure respect of the new timetable. These important gains remain fragile and should therefore be consolidated. The remaining obstacles to be overcome in the process include the continued insecurity in Katanga and in the East, delays in reforming the security sector, the country’s extreme dependence on foreign aid, logistical issues and the UDPS’s calls for a boycott.
Many other challenges need to be addressed after the elections. The votes will need to be counted, the results published and any electoral disputes managed that could give rise to fierce tension. In addition, the new institutions will have to do their utmost to ensure they do not disappoint the hopes of the population, ensuring that institutions have the resources to deal with the issues that the transition has failed to manage satisfactorily - tackling corruption, restoring security and public authority across the entire country, and proper management of public affairs and the country’s resources in the interest of socioeconomic development. The support of the international community will continue to be crucial.