The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Sebastiano Cardi (Italy):
The members of the Security Council noted the publication by the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the electoral calendar for the combined Presidential, Legislative and Provincial elections on 23 December 2018. They recalled that the Security Council, together with the African Union, has repeatedly called for the timely publication of a credible and consensual electoral calendar, pursuant to the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016. Now that 23 December 2018 has been set as the date for elections, the members of the Security Council emphasized the critical importance of ensuring the elections are not postponed further.
The members of the Security Council stressed that a peaceful and credible electoral cycle, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution and Security Council resolution 2348 (2017), as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, is crucial for lasting peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They called upon the Congolese authorities and all the relevant institutions to take all the necessary measures without delay to ensure that this new calendar is scrupulously adhered to, including the publication of a credible budget for the combined elections and the adoption of the required electoral legislation. They also underscored the need to do everything possible to ensure that the planned elections are organized with the requisite conditions of transparency, credibility and inclusivity, and lead to a peaceful transfer of power, in accordance with the Constitution and with the Agreement, including the provisions of its Chapter II.
The members of the Security Council reiterated that effective, swift and timely implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement is critical to a credible electoral process and the peace and stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as in supporting the legitimacy of the transitional institutions. They recalled the importance of taking urgent measures to restore confidence between the actors involved and to defuse the political tension, within the spirit of the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016, including full implementation of the confidence building measures agreed in Chapter V of the Agreement, some of which are yet to be implemented. They note, in particular, the need for immediate progress on the release of political prisoners, the end of “unjustified lawsuits”, as they are referred to in the Agreement, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the offer by the African Union, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Southern Africa Development Community and the European Union, along with the United Nations to establish a coordinated team of experts to support the preparations of the elections, including in ensuring women’s full and equal participation. They called upon the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities to disburse the funds promised for the electoral cycle as scheduled, despite the budgetary difficulties, to ensure that the electoral process proceeds in a timely manner. They further called upon bilateral and multilateral partners, once the budget has been established, to provide financial, logistical and technical support in order to ensure successful organization of elections, and on the Congolese authorities to enable adequate and timely provision of this support.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their appeal to all Congolese to work for the preservation of the still fragile gains in the path of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they underscored the responsibility that all Congolese political stakeholders bear, especially by overcoming their differences to reach consensus and upholding the interests and well‑being of their people above all other considerations, and strongly urged all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to ensure the inclusivity of all signatories of the Agreement in its implementation.
The members of the Security Council further called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to remain calm and refrain from violence of any kind. They reiterated their commitment to act accordingly regarding all Congolese actors whose actions and statements impede the implementation of the agreement and the timely organization of the elections.