NEW YORK JUNE 24, 2016 (CISA)– The United Nations Security Council on June 23 urged the president of Democratic Republic of Congo to hold elections by the end of the year as required by the constitution.
In a resolution to renew UN sanctions, the 15-member Security Council emphasized the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights in order to pave “the way for peaceful, credible, inclusive, transparent and timely elections in the DRC, particularly presidential and legislative elections by November 2016, in accordance with the Constitution” Reuters reported.
The Congolese government has previously said it is unlikely it will be able to hold elections on time for logistical reasons but opponents of President Joseph Kabila are accusing him of trying to cling to power.
The council further expressed concern at increased restrictions on freedom of expression and on the political space in Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically the recent arrests and detention of political opposition and civil society members.
Opposition parties and civil society groups had late last month called for nationwide demonstrations to protest against a ruling earlier last month by Congo’s highest court that would allow President Joseph Kabila to remain in power if presidential and parliamentary elections due in November are not held.
President Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is barred by the constitution from standing for a third term in the poll scheduled for November.