In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ruling coalition’s announcement of a consensus candidate other than President Kabila represents a significant step forward for Congolese democracy. We are encouraged by this sign that he intends to uphold his commitments to the Congolese constitution and the terms of the December 2016 St. Sylvestre agreement by not seeking a third term.
Government, opposition, and civil society leaders, along with the heads of the security services share with President Kabila the responsibility of ensuring full respect for democratic norms. The Congolese people must be free to express their views and choose from the candidates without fear of violence, threats, or intimidation. We call on DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission and Congolese authorities to take the necessary steps to guarantee credible elections on December 23, 2018, including by providing public access to the DRC’s new voter registry and using a voting method trusted by the Congolese electorate.
The DRC has an historic opportunity to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in December, and the United States looks forward to supporting this process in accordance with the established electoral calendar.