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France contributes one million euros to support the electoral process in the DRC

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MONUC - August 28, 2008


On 27 August 2008, the French government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) signed an agreement for one million euros for the urban, municipal and local elections, planned for 2009. This contribution is on top of those received from the UNDP, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy and the European Commission.

This contribution is implemented through the UN Development Programme’s - Support Project to the Electoral Cycle (PACE) - developed with the IEC, which ensures a direct support to technical and financial management operations of the IEC.

At the signing ceremony, Philippe Righini, representative of the French embassy in the DRC, reiterated the engagement of the French Republic to the democratic process in the DRC.

“This enables France, in conjunction with other financial donors and in particular the Member States of the European Union, to demonstrate our commitment to the reinforcement of the rule of law and democracy in the DRC,” he said.

France had already contributed seven million euros to the electoral process.

“This support falls under the continuity of our support to the electoral process which began in 2005 with the constitutional referendum and continued in 2006 with the presidential, legislative, and provincial elections,” he added.

Ross Mountain, resident representative of the UNDP in the DRC and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, stressed that this new contribution confirms the support of the French government for the process of democratization in the DRC since December 2002, with the signature of the overall and inclusive agreement in South Africa.

“This process will not be complete without the last stage which consists in setting up democratically elected institutions at the local level. Without the local elections and the rooting of the process in the villages and territories, one cannot fully establish a democratic system in this country,” he said.

Mr. Mountain also urged the management of these financial contributions with “the same rigour and the same transparency as before.”

The IEC, represented by its second vice-president Nobert Basengezi Katintima, thanked France for its support to the electoral process in the DRC, but also expressed his concern in relation to the challenges ahead.

According to him, the first challenge is how to meet the needs for this vast country on the logistics level.

For example, whereas the number of constituencies is multiplied by 30, that is to say 6,037, compared with 189 at the time of the second round of the presidential elections of 2006, the number of MONUC helicopters set aside for the local elections has decreased.

The second challenge, he added, relates to the laws on decentralisation and in particular the difficulty in applying this law on the ground, because of the vastness of the country and the need to create the terminals, and the limits when you take into account the various ethnic groups.

The 2nd vice-president of the IEC also expressed his concern for the financing of the next stage of the elections.

“We need more than 240 million dollars to finance the local elections, and we do not have a quarter of this figure. Admittedly, MONUC has approved 80 million dollars but there is a condition on this contribution until the decentralisation laws have been fully adopted,” he concluded.

Canada, Belgium and Sweden also promised to contribute to the financing of these future elections.


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