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Congo election season in full swing, along with electoral problems

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Other problems have arisen as well: the head of the electoral commission has not, as promised, named new officials to his commission to replace the workers who are affiliated with the ruling coalition. In addition, the timetable for the legislative elections seems to be slipping, as parliament and the electoral commission need to urgently pass an amendment to the election law presenting the new distribution of legislative seats in accordance with the voter registration figures (summary: Equateur gains 4 seats; Katanga and Bandundu gain 3; Maniema, Kasai Or and Kasai Occ gain 2; South Kivu remains the same; Kinshasa loses 7; North Kivu and Province Or lose 2; Bas-Congo loses 1 seat). There are now rumors that elections will have to be delayed until next year due to these delays.

On the other hand, candidates have recently been campaigning relatively freely. After initially facing stiff repression, Vital Kamerhe visited the Kivus in June to large crowds. Similarly, Etienne Tshisekedi has hold large rallies in Kinshasa and, just last Friday, in Lubumbashi. This is encouraging news.

But perhaps the most striking feature of this electoral season is the uncertainty. No one has a good, well-founded prediction for who will win the elections. As I have lamented again and again, there has not been any reliable polling in the country, although some unreliable polls have been published (their results largely an expression of their political bias). Each of the opposition candidates seems to believe they are the most popular, in particular Tshisekedi, who has at times presented himself as the sole legitimate opposition candidate and has come close to claiming victory already.

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