In Summary
  • Electoral commission says it needs another 504 days to prepare for the vote.
  • The polls have been repeatedly pushed back and CENI said in July it would not be possible to hold a nationwide vote this year due to ongoing security issues, particularly in the Kasai area.

KINSHASA

The election to pick DR Congo's next president will not happen before early 2019, the electoral commission has said, a delay that raises fresh security worries in the vast African nation.

Polls were due this year under a transitional deal aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his second mandate ended in December.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said Wednesday it would need another 504 days to prepare for the vote after the completion of an electoral census, which is far from accomplished in the restive Kasai region.

The delay could be reduced "if we accept to use voting machines and if we change the electoral law," a commission spokesman said.

The polls have been repeatedly pushed back and CENI said in July it would not be possible to hold a nationwide vote this year due to ongoing security issues, particularly in the Kasai area.

Activists in the natural resource-rich nation of some 70 million immediately called for resistance to the delay.

"There can be no more waiting. To the Congolese people... it's now or never," pro-democracy group LUCHA reacted on Twitter.

Following a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday, French Ambassador Francois Delattre called on Kinshasa to quickly release a full timetable for what he said must be "credible" elections.

PEACEFUL ELECTIONS

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