Tuesday

26th Mar 2019

Investigation

Kabila re-elected in Congo

  • Congolese election officials (Photo: MONUSCO)

Joseph Kabila has been re-elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the EU calling for data from each polling station to be released amid deep suspicions of electoral fraud within the opposition camp.

Provisional results released by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) on Friday (9 December) suggest the divisive politician obtained 49 percent of the vote against 32 percent for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Earlier this week, frustrated Tshisekedi supporters stormed through the streets of Brussels causing damage to shop windows and cars before being dispersed with water canons, with similar scenes witnessed in other cities across the globe.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the announcement of results in the DRC was repeatedly pushed back due to an array of logistical hurdles. The final tally must still be ratified by the country’s supreme court.

All eyes are now on the opposition camp amid fears of an outbreak of violence.

"I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people," Tshisekedi said in an interview on RFI radio on Friday. "As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo."

In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital city of 10 million people, opposition supporters burned car tyres and chanted Tshisekedi's campaign slogan: "The people first."

The international community has called for calm amid fears of an outbreak of violence, while international observers have said the vote was flawed but stopped short of calling it fraudulent.

The French Foreign Ministry released a statement Friday urging "the candidates who contest the provisional results to do so through legal channels."

"France calls on all Congolese political players to show restraint and a spirit of responsibility," it said. "France will condemn any incitement to violence."

Roughly 18 people were killed in the run-up to polling day, reports Human Rights Watch, pointing the principle finger of blame at Kabila's presidential guard.

EU high representative Catherine Ashton reacted to the news on Friday by saying data from each polling station must be released to ensure the result is widely accepted.

“The publication by CENI of results, polling station by polling station, constitutes an appropriate measure to ensure the transparence of the counting of ballots and the electoral process as a whole,” she said in a statement.

Opposition figures have repeatedly complained about CENI’s behaviour throughout the electoral campaign, noting in particular that its chairman is also a co-founder of Kabila’s political party.

There have also been grumblings that the EU failed to speak out sufficiently against a flawed electoral register and a constitutional change which shifted the presidential vote from two rounds to one.

Congolese tensions spill onto streets of Brussels

Post-electoral tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo spilled onto the streets of Brussels on Monday, with angry supporters of opposition presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi damaging vehicles and briefly occupying the EU capital’s inner ring-road.

Black gold in Virunga, curse or saviour?

The DRC's Virunga National Park is teaming with wildlife but also sits atop huge oil deposits, traditionally a magnet for corruption in parts of Africa. New EU legislation covering the extractive industry may help.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us