Thursday, September 14, 2006

DRC: "Shocking" Supreme Court ruling

BBC NEWS | Africa | Doubt over DR Congo election date:

"The organisation of the second round of the Democratic Republic of Congo's landmark elections has been thrown into confusion after a Supreme Court ruling.

The court ruled that the initial date for the run-off, 29 October, broke the constitution.

The shock ruling came as the two candidates in the second round held a two-hour meeting to ease tension.

The announcement of the first round results led to days of gun battles in Kinshasa, which left 23 people dead.

The 30 July election was the first democratic poll to be held in the country since it gained independence in 1960 and follows the official end of a five-year conflict."
I put "shocking" in quotation marks because the Supreme Court had no other choice, as the constitution and the electoral law are both pretty clear - albeit unrealistic - about the fact that the second round of the presidential elections must be held 15 days after the official announcement by the Supreme Court, of the final results of the first round. It will therefore be rather interestiing to see how all these institutions are going to go about respecting the law, and facing the very real logistical difficulties that it poses.

In fact, anticipating this ruling, the Electoral Commission had already asked the Supreme Court for a derogation from the law - an action that will now look like an "appeal" to the recent ruling - to allow for the those logistical constraints. Printing the ballots in South Africa, transportation to Congo, transportation in the 50,000+ voting stations... all the problems that we know from the first rounds of elections, are still present. How to go about reconciling the law, the constitution and the reality on the field, is a conundrum that will take extreme tact to resolve. Wait and see...

In other news, the first integrated "batallion" of ~800 Republican Guards[Fr] has graduated from the Integration program of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC). This the First batallion that is made-up of members of the original Republican Guard (known as GSSP) and soldiers from former rebel groups. The Republican Guard is in charge of Presidential Security. Hope in the Air? I wonder...

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