DR Congo says ready to hold December poll

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has vowed to conduct a credible presidential poll despite the security and humanitarian challenges the country is facing.

While addressing the African Union Peace and Security Council, the country’s representative said President Joseph Kabila had “upheld the Constitution” and that “the General Elections will be held unfailingly on 23 December 2018.”

“We are adequately prepared to ensure credible elections in a complex security and humanitarian context,” the unnamed official told the Council.

The country’s presidential election was initially scheduled for November 2016, but the electoral commission then said it was unable to conduct the vote due to logistical challenges.

Pressure from regional and international parties prompted the government early this year to set a December 23 date for the vote.

President Kabila later announced that he would not be in the running, but will support Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, fronted by the ruling party.

Electronic voting kits arrived in the country in October ahead of the poll, as the country prepares to seek a replacement for Kabila, who has ruled for 17 years.

Should the election go on as planned, this will be the first time the DR Congo witnesses a peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence in 1960.