DRC: the process is not over [fr]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 11 January 2019
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, to whom I wish once again to pay tribute; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia; the President of the Commission électorale nationale indépendante; the President of the Conférence épiscopale nationale du Congo; and the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations for their important interventions. It is vital that the Security Council gain a broader perspective on the conduct of the elections, including through the assessments of the organizations that carried out electoral observation missions on the ground, alongside civil-society organizations.
France wishes first of all to pay tribute to the Congolese people as a whole, who demonstrated patience when the elections were postponed for more than two years and who turned up in large numbers on 30 December to exercise their right to vote. While there were many technical and political pitfalls during those two years and numerous hiccups in the implementation of the agreement of 31 December 2016, what we will remember most of all is the image of those Congolese who queued up in an orderly manner, sometimes for several hours, in order to exercise their right to freely choose their representatives. That is an example of democratic vitality that France wishes to commend.
France also extends its congratulations to the political actors, civil society and relevant institutions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the organization of the elections, which were held under conditions that were deemed satisfactory, despite some irregularities, by the international election observation missions of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union. France commends the work of the observer missions and of Congolese civil society, whose presence throughout the country contributed to the smooth conduct of the vote.
The process is not over. The Commission électorale nationale indépendante announced provisional results on 10 January regarding part of the provincial elections, as well as the presidential election. France is now awaiting the publication by the Commission of the results of the legislative elections, as well as the compilation of the minutes for the provincial elections and the detailed results of the presidential elections. The initial results have been disputed publicly. Congolese law provides for remedies and, as the African Union has pointed out, it is vital that any challenge to the results, in particular in relation to a discrepancy between them and the verdict of the ballot boxes, be carried out peacefully through existing legal procedures and political dialogue among all stakeholders.
In this crucial period, France renews its appeal to all parties to stay calm. It calls on all actors concerned to demonstrate responsibility and to foster national consensus, based on respect for democratic principles and the will expressed at the polls by Congolese voters, as well as for human rights and civil peace. These elections represent a historic moment for the Democratic Republic of the Congo that could lead to the first peaceful alternation of power in the history of the country as well as to the strengthening of its democratic institutions. That would be the culmination of a cycle that began in Sun City, South Africa, 16 years ago.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken important steps in recent weeks towards that goal. France stands with the Congolese nation and people and will accompany them on their path, while respecting the democratic choice made by the Congolese. In that context, France will propose to States members of the Council to adopt as soon as possible a press statement welcoming the conduct of the elections, calling on all parties to engage calmly in the next stages of the process and inviting them to build national consensus in respect for the law and in the service of peace.