DRC elections: Congolese called to the polls for crucial vote for the country

Nearly 44 million voters are called to elect their president, as well as their national and provincial deputies and municipal councillors on Wednesday. Incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi is seeking a second five-year term in the face of a fragmented opposition.

Passers-by walk next to campaign posters of different candidates for the DRC general elections, in Kinshasa, December 12, 2023. © JOHN WESSELS / AFP

By: RFI Follow


Read More

A total of 19 candidates, including only one woman, are running for president. But on the ballots presented to voters, there are still 26. The rallies during the campaign came after the ballots had been printed.

To vote, 75,400 polling stations are set up throughout the country, but in three territories, two in North Kivu and one in Mai-Ndombé, it will not be possible to vote because of insecurity. The electoral commission's teams were unable to register voters.

Listen alsoListen to the interviews of all the presidential candidates on RFI

The presidential election is a one-round election in which the head of state is elected by a simple majority. This year, this election is coupled with the election of national and provincial deputies. For these two elections, voters will have to choose from more than 25,000 candidates their next representatives in parliament in Kinshasa and from more than 44,000 contenders their provincial deputies. There are sometimes more than 900 candidates vying for the same position. Finally, in the capitals of the 26 provinces, it will also be necessary to choose communal councillors, a first in the country in 34 years.

Read alsoElections in the DRC: in Kinshasa, young people who follow the campaign from the corner of their eyes

Logistical challenge

More than 100,000 candidates are therefore in the running for these four elections, the organisation of which represents a real challenge in this country of 2.3 million km2 largely devoid of infrastructure. Until the last minute, doubts remained about the ability of the Electoral Commission (CENI) to equip all polling stations with "voting machines", ballot papers and other materials on time. The total budget is estimated at more than $1.1 billion.

The Electoral Commission has announced that it will receive air support for its deployment: assistance from the Congolese army, but also from the UN mission in the country, MONUSCO, from Egyptian army planes and helicopters from Congo-Brazzaville.

The great difficulty is the north of the country: the Great Equator and the former Eastern Province, where there are particularly isolated and difficult to access areas. Moreover, the CENI acknowledges that the equipment will continue to be deployed even on the day of the vote. Polling stations may open late, the presidency warns, but the duration of operations will be guaranteed for voters.

These polls will be observed by several international and national missions. The largest ones, that of the Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as that of a group of civil society organizations, announced that they had each deployed more than 20,000 observers for D-Day. Due to a lack of technical constraints on satellite communication equipment deemed sensitive by the security services, the European Union has decided to cancel its election observation mission in the DRC.

Read alsoDRC: civil society organizes to observe elections itself

NewsletterGet all the latest international news straight to your inbox

Subscribe now

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI app


Read on the same topics:

  • Ground floor
  • Elections in the DRC
  • Félix Tshisekedi