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Secretary-General Urges Peaceful, Lawful Elections

Secretary-General Urges Peaceful, Lawful Elections As DR Congo Prepares For October Run-Off

New York, Sep 18 2006 7:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all parties and candidates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where run-off elections are scheduled for October, to ensure that the process is peaceful and lawful.

Mr. Annan’s comments followed a DRC Supreme Court decision last week validating the results of the first round of the 30 July presidential election and paving the way for a second round between President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

“The Secretary-General calls on the two candidates to adhere to the electoral calendar, which sets 29 October as the date both for the second presidential round and for the provincial assembly elections, and to reach an early agreement both on the rules of conduct for the electoral campaign and on mutual assurances for security anῤ political engagement thereafter, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a <"http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2006/sgsm10639.doc.htm">statement released in New York.

He also called on all candidates and political parties to ensure that the elections “are conducted in conditions of security, and are credible and transparent, and to respect the outcome,” the spokesman added.

“Any incitement to hatred and violence during the electoral period is unacceptable, and anyone engaging in such activity must be held accountable.”

The Secretary-General also pledged the UN’s commitment to provide “all possible support to the Congolese people in holding peaceful and successful elections” next month.

The Supreme Court found that during the first-round elections in July, President Kabila received 44.8 per cent of the vote to Vice President Bemba’s 20 per cent.

In August, supporters of the two clashed in the capital, Kinshasa. The candidates subsequently met face-to-face in a meeting that the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) characterized as “relaxed and conciliatory.”

The elections in the DRC were the first the country has held in 45 years and the largest and most complex the UN has ever helped to organize. They involve an electorate of 25.5 million casting votes at some 50,000 polling stations spread out over a territory roughly the size of Western Europe.

Ends

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