- The Independent Electoral Commission of Congo Kinshasa (DRC) says it is moving well ahead to prepare the vast country for municipal and local elections to be held late this year on a date yet to be fixed.
The President of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Reverend Apollinaire Malu Malu, appealed to media in Kinshasa today to explain the processes and procedures for the upcoming municipal and local elections, to the public. "The elections train is moving," he urged.
The IEC president made his appeal during a meeting in Kinshasa between the IEC and the media within the framework of the preparations of the operation to revise the electoral register, and in prelude to the launching of the public awareness campaign, reports the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUC.
Other meetings have already taken place with non-state actors, the churches and political parties. The objective of these series of meeting is to inform all these actors on the aforementioned operation, to mobilise them and demand their support.
The complexity of the urban, municipal and local elections in the vast country was clearly explained by the IEC President: "There are three stages. Initially the elections by universal direct suffrage, then the elected officials must elect in their turn the urban council and the local executive power (burgomasters of the communes) and in the cases of the cities, the urban council will elect the mayor of the city."
"The territories will be divided into districts, sectors and communes (for the agglomerations of more than 20,000 inhabitants). The districts will pass from 189 at the time of the provincial elections, to more than 6,000 for the local elections," Mr Malu Malu explained.
But in order to organise all this democratic system, firstly it is important that the legal framework is ready; MONUC reported from Kinshasa.
Mr Malu Malu explained that in the weeks to come, the Prime Minister must sign the decree on the enforcement of a law regarding decentralised entities. For its part, next October the IEC will submit to the National Assembly the appendix with the electoral law on the distribution of the seats in the districts.
Consequently, the update the electoral register of 2005 was said to be a precondition. It must start next on 7 June and must be accomplished nationally within four months. MONUC stated it would be "collaborating closely with the IEC in all the stages of the process."
The update of the electoral register targets two categories of people, anyone of voting age who has not been registered to vote and those who will be of voting age by 2011. These categories of voters will not be able to vote in the local elections, but they will be able to vote in the presidential elections of 2011.
With regard to the displaced populations in eastern Congo, Mr Malu Malu said that they would be regarded as people having changed address, and that the IEC would draw up a list of displaced people with the assistance of the humanitarian actors, in particular with UN agencies on the ground to determine their electoral constituency.
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