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New committee to help support DR Congo transition

New committee to help support DR Congo's transition – UN

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today reported the establishment of a new 'Committee of the Wise' to facilitate the transition to democracy in the country, where elections tomorrow will mark the first free vote there in 45 years.

Chaired by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, the Committee includes other high-profile officials, including the former President of Benin, Nicéphore Soglo, the former Prime Minister of Senegal, Mame Boye, and the former head of Tanzania's electoral commission, Justice Lewis Makame. One or two other members are expected to be named to the body in the coming days.

The Committee will work to foster democracy by lending its support to restoring an atmosphere of confidence and peace, with a view to a smooth electoral process; helping solve conflicts through mediation; and providing guidance on key issues of concern.

The new body is an initiative of five Congolese institutions, including the Independent Electoral Commission, and is supported by the UN Secretary-General and the President of the African Union.

The election in DRC, which is being supported by MONUC, involves some 25.7 million voters casting ballots for over 33 candidates for president and more than 9,700 candidates for the 500-seat National Assembly.

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