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Carter Center Observes Challenging DRC Elections, Committed to Country’s Long-Term Stability

On Nov. 28, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is holding its second democratic multi-party national elections since gaining independence in 1960, and the first to be administered solely by the country’s election commission. Elections in 2006 were overseen by the United Nations.

A Congolese woman votes on election day 2011.
Photo:  G. Dubourthoumieu/The Carter Center
A Congolese woman casts her vote in a polling station in Kinshasa on Nov. 28, 2011. The Democratic Republic of the Congo held national elections Monday.

The challenges are many. The Independent National Election Commission (CENI) must deploy all materials on time to 63,000 polling stations across the country, many in remote, inaccessible places. Security is also a big issue. The national police force must keep the peace and guarantee safety in a very contentious environment.

“The stability of DRC is the stability of the subregion,” said Baya Kara, director of the Carter Center’s election observation mission. “This election is a test of the strength of democratic institutions and the impartiality of CENI; it is important for us to be witness.”

Carter Center DRC Election Observation Leader Rupiah Banda
Photo:  G. Dubourthoumieu/The Carter Center
A Congolese man talks with Carter Center delegation leader and former president of Zambia Rupiah Banda (L) in front of a polling station in Kinshasa on Nov. 28, 2011. The Democratic Republic of the Congo held national elections Monday under a cloud of violence after clashes on the final day of campaigning left at least two people dead.

Twenty Carter Center long-term observers have been deployed since August, and they are now joined by others to form a 70-person delegation to observe the polling and counting processes. The group is co-led by former Zambia President Rupiah Banda and Carter Center Vice President for Peace Programs John Stremlau.

To cover the most ground in a country the size of Western Europe, the Center is also supporting the deployment of more than 6,000 domestic observers. This partnership will allow observers to deploy to the furthest corners of the DRC and reach even the most inaccessible areas, and will also enhance the Center’s knowledge and understanding of political context in a very complex country.

Challenging road conditions in Kasai Occidental
Photo:  L. Curtis/The Carter Center
Carter Center long-term observers face challenging road conditions in Kasai Occidental in October 2011.

“One of the most challenging aspects of our work is the logistics,” said Serge Tambwe Badibanga of the domestic observation group Réseau National pour l’Observation et la Surveillance des Elections au Congo (National Network for the Observation and Monitoring of Elections in Congo).  “Some of our observers will travel for two days—by motorcycle, dugout canoes, and bicycle—to reach their polling stations.

Lubakat men in Katanga Province
Photo:  F. Afsharnia/The Carter Center
Lubakat men with grass skirts and painted faces dance in the streets in Katanga Province to support a presidential candidate in October 2011.

The Carter Center is committed to the long-term stability of the DRC. After observing the country’s 2006 elections, the Center remained engaged through the Human Rights House in Kinshasa to provide direct support to 154 Congolese NGO partners who work against child trafficking, shepherd victims of sexual and gender-based violence through the legal system, demand the transparent and equitable use of natural resources through mining policy reform, and promote electoral reform.

DRC Election Day, Nov. 28, 2011
Photo:  G. Dubourthoumieu/The Carter Center
Congolese citizens look for their names on a list outside a polling station in Kinshasa on Nov. 28, 2011.

Quick facts:

DRC President Joseph Kabila’s biggest challenger in this election is opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress. Eleven candidates are running for  president.

DRC’s constitution no longer requires a candidate to gain more than 50 percent of the vote to win, so whoever receives the most votes on Nov. 28 is elected.

Ballots are each a bulging 56 pages; there are more than 18,000 candidates running for seats in the parliamentary elections.

There are 63,000 polling stations and polls will be open on election day from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Read more:  Former Zambia President Rupiah Banda to Lead Carter Center Delegation to DRC’s Election (En anglais et en français)

Posted in Democracy, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Elections, Peace

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Post Your Own Comment

  • 1

    lucien on November 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    i would like to be the 1st to read out DRC’s elections results please.

  • 2

    JoyAnn Murphy on November 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm


  • 3

    bienvenu massamba on November 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I would like to hear the first result of the general election in DRC.

  • 4

    assani on November 30, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Result of drc election

  • 5

    john kasende on November 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Are there any estimates for the DRC elections available as for now?

  • 6

    Auguy Look Mukeba on November 30, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Thank you for your help unto us. We should like to know the results from a credible centre such as the Carter Foundation, in real time!

  • 7

    The Carter Center on November 30, 2011 at 9:53 am

    The Carter Center’s preliminary report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo elections is now posted:

  • 8

    mwembia on December 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    the congolese people is now suffering massive electoral cheat from the national electoral commission and there is a great need for truth please let us know your feagures.

  • 9

    pastor hypolite kayenda on December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Hi, pastor hypolite kayenda I am waiting for your organization that find many irregularity in election of 11/28/2011 in DR Congo and the result that claim Joseph Kabila as an winner in this election even do your organization find many fraud I think that you have right to publish your site of result this will help many congolaise to know the true of this election and thank you for be there for the people that do not have voice.

    GOD bless your foundation

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