News / Africa

DRC Opposition Chips Away at Kabila's Influence

President of Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila  (file photo)
President of Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila (file photo)
Gabe Joselow

Partial results from November’s parliamentary elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo show President Joseph Kabila's party is losing seats in the legislature.  Results so far from Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) show President Kabila's PPRD party has won 58 seats in parliament, with opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's UDPS party in second-place with 34.  The announcement comes after Kabila was declared the winner of the presidential poll - one which observers said was deeply flawed.

The tally in Congo indicates an overall loss of support for Kabila's party, which won 111 seats in the 2006 election.  While the PPRD is likely to remain the largest bloc in parliament, it will need numerous allied parties to achieve a majority.

The results so far account for 432 seats out of Congo's 500 seat parliament.

The parliamentary vote took place November 28, the same day as the presidential election. While Kabila was declared the winner, Tshisekedi has contested the results, and tried to swear himself in as president a month later.

International observers also denounced the vote - which was wracked by violence - as deeply flawed.

“The problem was after the election day for the compilation, and that is why we have observed some irregularities in the compilation and in particular in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi,” explained Baya Kara with the Carter Center observer mission in Kinshasa. Kara says the real chaos took place during vote counting.

The electoral commission has also called for the results to be annulled in seven voting districts where fighting disrupted the vote.  And it has called for the prosecution of several candidates accused of instigating the violence.

A team of international election specialists, including a delegation from the U.S. based National Democratic Institute, travelled to Congo this month to study the parliamentary election process and to determine whether a broader review should be conducted.

Full results of the parliamentary vote are expected Monday.

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