19,000 candidates registered for Congo's legislative elections(Read article summary)
The large number of candidates – for only 500 seats – will make for a more competitive election than in the past.
The electoral commission has published the list of candidates for the legislative elections, which are scheduled to be held on Nov. 28, along with the presidential election. The legislative election is particularly important in the Congo, as the prime minister is named by the largest coalition in parliament, and then forms a cabinet to deal with the day-to-day business of governing. (That's the theory, at least – in this government, the presidency has wielded far greater power.)
There are 19,000 candidates for the 500 seats in the national assembly. This means the legislative battle will be more competitive than in 2006, when there were considerably fewer candidates. In some districts, like Tshangu in Kinshasa, there are a hundred candidates for every seat.
I have done a very superficial analysis of five of the major parties contending elections: MLC, PPRD, UFC, UNC and UDPS. I admit that other parties are also extremely important – MSR and PALU, for example – but I will leave those for another day. If I did not miscount, here is a list of how many candidates each party registered for the 500 seats:
- MLC (Bemba): 237
- PPRD (Kabila): 545
- UDPS (Tshisekedi): 377
- UFC (Kengo): 334
- UNC (Kamerhe): 450
I should emphasize that these numbers don't mean much – if a party is unpopular, then even by multiplying the number of candidates they won't get more seats. Nonetheless, there are several observations we can make.