UN chief calls for peaceful elections in DRC
Updated: 2011-11-28 09:58
Electoral officials sort out voting materials at a polling station ahead of Monday's polls in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, November 27, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Sunday called on political leaders and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to make painstaking efforts to ensure that the upcoming elections are held "in a peaceful and secure environment."
The secretary-general made the appeal in a statement issued here as the people of the DRC are preparing to vote in the national elections on Monday.
"I call on all political leaders and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to exercise restraint throughout the process to ensure that the elections are held in a peaceful and secure environment," Ban said.
"I appeal to them to conform to the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the electoral law; to promote democratic debate; to respect the results of the ballots; and to address any disputes that may arise, through the established mediation and legal channels," he said.
On the eve of the upcoming elections in the Central African country, the secretary-general reiterated the support of the United Nations to this historic process. "These elections are crucial for the country's progress towards stabilization and development," he said.
Voters in the DRC are heading to the polls on November 28 to pick a president and parliament in the mineral-rich country. This is the nation's second election since 1997.
The country has 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Joseph Kabila, according to local media reports.
Nearly 30 million people are registered to vote, according to the reports. Kabila has been at the helm since 2001.
"I hope that many Congolese and international observers, as well as witnesses of political parties, will be present at all levels of the electoral process, in particular at the polling stations and centers," the secretary-general said in the statement.
"The Independent National Electoral Commission, supported by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and international partners, has done notable work to organize the elections in a timely manner," he said.
"I stress the primary responsibility of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for maintaining a secure environment for the elections," he said.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general also said that he is grateful to his special representative and the staff from the UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, and the UN Development Program (UNDP) for their support in assisting Congolese authorities throughout the electoral process.