Friday, June 30, 2006

Election Campaign Begins on Independence Day

The first multi-party elections in 46 years began at midnight on Thursday, June 29. The campaign period will run through July 29 and the Congolese will vote for president and parliament on July 30. Although tensions in the country have been high leading up to the campaign period, things are calm in Kinshasa, the nation's capital. Two key events are taking place in Kinshasa today:

1. Vice President Azarias Ruberwa announced the long-awaited political consultations which were to take place on Monday as a follow-up to the . The consultations are supposed to establish consensus regarding the inclusiveness of the electoral process, security of the candidates, equal access to the media during the campaign period and the overall legitimacy of the pre and post election period.

Participants in the consultation include:
• Five leaders of the government (President and four vice presidents)
• Five delegates from each of the following political parties PPRD, RCD, MLC
• Ten delegates from the political opposition and civil society
• Two delegates from the RCD/KML, RCD/N and the Mai-Mai
• Interior, Justice and Defense Ministers along with their deputies
• Members of the Electoral Commission
• Presidents of both chambers of parliament
• The presidents of other support institutions of the democratic process and their deputies
• The 33 presidential candidates
• The President of the UPR Mme Babandoa and two delegates from her coalition FCCTE(Front commun des congolais pour une transition non exclusive)

2. The political opposition led by UDPS, FONUS, UPR and others are leading a peacful protest march in Kinshasa to demand a more inclusive process.

A number of coalitions have developed to date. Coalitions have formed around Joseph Kabila (Alliance of the Presidential Majority), Jean Pierre Bemba (The Rally of Congolese Nationalists) and Pierre Pay-Pay (Coaliton of Congolese Democrats).


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