A top official of the Democratic Republic of Congo told VOA President Joseph Kabila will soon approve of a seven-member panel to form a new Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to organize next year’s general election.
Lambert Mende, Congo’s Information Minister, said the new panel will replace the old leadership of the electoral body that organized the 2006 general elections.
President Joseph Kabila
“It is a provision of the constitution and electoral law that the president has to approve this National Electoral and Independent Commission of seven members. Those seven members have to be selected by the parliament. So, the president now will wait to receive from the parliament the names of the seven people that will be appointed by his decree,” he said.
As stipulated by the constitution, President Kabila will approve the list of the members of the electoral panel after parliament selects them. The majority selects four, while three are chosen by the opposition.
The new electoral body is scheduled to replace the previous electoral commission that was set up after the 2002 peace accord that ended Congo’s war.
Chaired by Father Apollinaire Malu-Malu, the previous electoral commission organized provincial, legislative, senatorial and presidential votes in 2006 and 2007.
Information minister Mende said that the law requires that members of the electoral commission are independent and not affiliated with any political party.
“The parliament is forced by law to appoint independent people, people who are not implicated in political activities. It is civil society and people like that, but they will be appointed by the parliament, but not politicians, although they will be appointed by politicians. That is what is written in the law,” Mende said.