DR Congo: More than a million people register to vote

04 Sep 2009

More than 1.25 million people have registered to vote in Kinshasa Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the first phase of a countrywide exercise to revise the electoral roll, ahead of local elections scheduled for 2010.

“This is a very important step towards democratization in the DRC, coming before the local elections that will help entrench this process within communities,” said Ross Mountain, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and UNDP Resident Representative.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conducted the Kinshasa province voter registry update exercise between 7 June and 20 August 2009, with the assistance of the UNDP Project to Support the Electoral Cycle and the peacekeeping mission, MONUC.

This is one part of UNDP’s broader work with the IEC towards the 2011 presidential and general elections, which includes managing a basket fund of some US$200 million. This is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The electoral roll update process is targeting those who did not register to vote during the 2005 presidential elections, as well as young people now reaching voting age. It will also allow voters who have changed residence since the last election to update their addresses. Those who have lost their voter’s cards will also be able to apply for a new one.

The IEC estimates that 6 million new voters will be registered countrywide, and issued with a tamper-proof card that also serves as a valid ID card. They join the already 25 million people on the voter roll who registered during the historic elections in 2005, when Congolese held the first democratic elections in 40 years.

The Support to the Electoral Cycle project is part of a larger UNDP programme designed to enhance governance in the DRC. With an approximate budget of $400 million, the programme supports the implementation of the country’s growth and poverty reduction strategy paper and consists of five strategic governance components: political, administrative, economic, local, as well as legal and security issues.

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UNDP in the Democratic Republic of Congo