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DR Congo marks 20 December 2023 as presidential election date – SABC News

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) says it will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 20, 2023, kicking off a year of extensive preparations in the vast central African country, much of which has been wracked by militia violence.

Announcing the date at a ceremony in Kinshasa on Saturday, Electoral National Independent Commission (CENI), the country’s electoral body, outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting election materials thousands of kilometers, health concerns related to Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. However, the government has promised to stick to the schedule in the country of 80 million people.

“It’s not a question of negotiating constitutional terms, it’s a question of us respecting them and consolidating our democracy,” said government spokesman Patrick Muaya.

According to him, the elections will cost about 600 million dollars, of which more than 450 million have already been budgeted.

Electoral struggles are common in the Congo. The most recent presidential election, Congo’s first democratic transition, was delayed for two years until it was finally held in December 2018. In that vote, President Felix Tsiskedi took over from his longtime predecessor, Joseph Kabila.

This time, similar problems remain. Candidates are expected to be announced in October next year, with a final list due in November. Tsiskedi is expected to run again, with Martin Fayulu, who claimed victory in the 2018 vote, one of the likely contenders. Under Congolese law, presidents are limited to two terms.

Despite billions of dollars spent on one of the largest United Nations peacekeeping forces, more than 120 armed groups continue to operate in the east of the country, including the M23 rebels, which Congo has repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting – allegations Kigali denies.

M23 has launched a major offensive this year, seizing territory and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

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