Press

Leading Opposition candidate calls for peace in wake of canceled Congolese presidential election

December 20, 2018

Amid news reports Thursday that the election commission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had canceled indefinitely the long-awaited Dec. 23 presidential election, leading Congolese opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi called for peace and urged officials to move forward with the vote for the good of the Congolese people and democracy in his troubled nation.
“The people of the Congo are ready for peace. They are ready for democracy. However, we urge all people of the Congo to conduct only peaceful protests in the light of this news. The people of the Congo want no further violence or bloodshed. Only peace, democracy and the right to vote. We urge the election commission to move forward with Sunday’s vote,” Tshisekedi said Thursday.
The candidate’s comments followed press reports that the Congolese election commission had indefinitely postponed the vote because of, according to a Washington Post report, technical issues, the country’s Ebola outbreak and a recent fire that damaged thousands of voting machines.
Tshisekedi had previously expressed skepticism around the announcement of the fire.
“How is it that what should be the best protected place in the republic at this time can burn so easily?” Tshisekedi said during a Dec. 13 interview on a local radio station.
Tshisekedi plans to work through all legal channels to ensure the presidential election is held and the Congo experiences its first peaceful transfer of power in decades.
The term of incumbent President Joseph Kabila ended in December 2016. However, the Kabila administration had refused to allow an election to choose a new president until recently announcing he would step down and that an election had been scheduled for December 23.

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