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Kabila's Party Loses Seats in Parliament, Increasing Reliance on Allies

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Congo News Agency - February 3, 2012
President Joseph Kabila’s party, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), and its allies will hold a majority of seats in the new parliament, according to the results of the Nov. 28 parliamentary elections published by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday.

The PPRD lost nearly half the number of seats it held in the 500-seat National Assembly, winning only 63 seats. The PPRD had more candidates than any other party in the elections.

Etienne Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) won 42 seats. Mr. Tshisekedi, who is contesting the results of the parliamentary and presidential elections, has called on members of his party to boycott the parliament. The UDPS had no members in parliament after boycotting the 2006 elections.

The relatively unknown People’s Party for Peace and Democracy (PPPD), which is allied to the PPRD, has emerged from the elections as the third biggest party in the National Assembly after winning 29 seats.

The Lumumbist Party (PALU), led by former Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga and current Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, also lost seats after winning only 19.

Jean-Pierre Bemba’s Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), which was the main opposition party in parliament, won 22 seats. Vital Kamerhe’s Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) won 18 seats.

Although Mr. Kabila will have a comfortable majority in the National Assembly thanks to the Presidential Majority (MP), a parliamentary grouping of parties supporting his agenda, the results are a setback for the ruling PPRD, which was aiming to increase its seats in parliament to lessen its dependence on its allies.

The new balance of power will affect how Mr. Kabila forms any new government. As the biggest party allied to the PPRD until now, the PALU has been given the prime minister’s post since the 2006 elections.

Mr. Kabila is said to consider including members of the opposition in a new government. Altogether, opposition candidates were credited with winning more votes than Mr. Kabila in the presidential election. They have rejected the results published by the electoral commission, alleging widespread fraud.

The electoral commission said it asked the Supreme Court to nullify results for 17 seats in 7 districts affected by violence on voting day.

More than 19,000 candidates run for parliament. The Supreme Court has received more than 500 appeals since the electoral commission started publishing partial results. The Electoral Law gives the court two months to decide on the appeals.

View the results on the electoral commission's website

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