DRC: the Ceni sets April 29 for the election of senators and provincial governors

The Congolese Independent National Electoral Commission (Céni) will simultaneously organize on Monday April 29 the election of senators and governors of the 26 provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reported the Kinshasa press.

These two ballots were initially set respectively for February 24 (for senators) and March 12 (for governors and their deputies. But these deadlines were not held, for various reasons, including “financial constraints” invoked by the Ceni.

Postponed to April 22, the election of senators has once again been delayed by a week, the Ceni said in a press release published Monday evening. The same date of April 29 was retained for the election of provincial governors and vice-governors following rulings from the Constitutional Court deeming certain candidacies inadmissible.

In the DRC, the 108 senators are elected by indirect ballot by the members of the 26 provincial assemblies. A 109th member of the Senate – for life – is, under the Constitution, the former president, in this case Joseph Kabila Kabange. This indirect voting method also applies to provincial governors and vice-governors.

The new CENI timetable provides for the electoral campaign to take place from April 25 to 27.

The governor and senator candidates of the provinces of Kwilu (west) and Nord-Ubangi (northwest) will, however, have to wait for the provincial legislative elections to be held in the territories of Yakoma and Masimanimba. The polls of December 20 were canceled in these constituencies due to fraud, vandalism and illegal possession of electronic voting devices.

This new stage of the fourth electoral cycle in the DRC since the end of the last civil war in the former Zaire (1998-2003) follows the organization of four combined direct suffrage elections last December (one presidential, one legislative national and provincial as well as municipal.

But more than three months after these elections marred by logistical difficulties and irregularities, the country still does not have a central government despite the designation on April 1 by re-elected President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of a woman, Judith Suminwa Tuluka, as Prime Minister.

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