Democratic Republic of Congo – Passed Bill May Delay Elections

The bill conditions the holding of the presidential and legislative elections to the general population census results.

Members of the National Assembly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Saturday, January 17, 2015 night passed the bill on the electoral law which indicate that the presidential and legislative elections initially planned for 2016 will only take place after the general population census results, the media reported. The population census will have to be done in 2015. The Senate has been programmed to examine and adopt the bill today, Monday, January 19, 2015 ahead of the end of the current session of parliament on January 26.

Some 337 Members of the National Assembly voted in favour of the bill, eight against and 24 abstained. Reports say opposition MPs did not participate in the vote. They reportedly called for a boycott of the plenary sitting to adopt the bill, denouncing it as a constitutional coup d’eacutetat by the incumbent president to stay in power much longer. The plenary sitting was announced on Friday, January 16, 2015, a public holiday organized to commemorate the January 17, 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the country after independence.

Government spokesman, Lambert Mende in an interview with RFI on January 16 said the presidential election initially planned for 2016 could take place in 2016 just as in 2017. The opposition political party leaders have been opposed to the passing of the bill amending the electoral law and have called on the population to manifest in front of Parliament building today. They consider the bill amending the electoral law as a strategy by President Joseph Kabila who was re-elected in 2001 to stay in power for long.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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