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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Electoral Commission (CENI) has announced the eligibility of 24 candidates who have registered for the presidential election scheduled for December 20. This announcement was made in a list published on Friday, although it is subject to further examination by the Constitutional Court.
The final list of candidates will be officially published on November 18, just before the beginning of the electoral campaign, which, in practice, started several weeks ago. The presidential election is part of a broader set of elections, including legislative, provincial, and communal elections, with thousands of candidates registered for these positions.
Among the provisional candidates submitted to the CENI is the incumbent president, Félix Tshisekedi, who has been in power since January 2019 and is seeking re-election for a new five-year term. In opposition to Tshisekedi, there are several prominent figures from the opposition, including Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his work on behalf of women who have suffered from sexual violence, Moise Katumbi, a wealthy businessman and former governor of Katanga in the southeast, or Martin Fayulu, who claims to have won the 2018 presidential election, despite the official results indicating otherwise.
Additionally, other notable candidates include MP Delly Sesanga and former prime ministers Adolphe Muzito and Augustin Matata Ponyo, with the latter currently facing prosecution for alleged misappropriation of public funds. Out of the 24 registered candidates, only one is a woman, Marie-Josée Ifoku Mputa, who also ran in the December 2018 elections.
A critical issue for the country is whether the fragmented opposition can come together to support a unified candidate, which appears crucial for their chances in a single-round contested election.
The political atmosphere in the country has been tense for several months, as opposition parties have raised concerns about shrinking democratic space and have expressed doubts about the integrity of the upcoming elections, fearing potential electoral fraud.
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