This week, the Democratic Republic of Congo held its second election since the end of the war. Originally scheduled only for Monday, voting was extended twice in some locations due to inadequate preparation. Despite recommendations to postpone in order to better prepare, the country proceeded, and so far, the outcome appears to be more promising than many expected.
The Carter Center, AU, and other election monitors have published statements declaring the elections a success, though the results will not be announced until at least next week. It appears that the international community is encouraged mostly by the way the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) handled the many challenges it faced. Although problems arose with excessively difficult ballots and names being left off of voter rolls, the staff at polling locations worked hard to see the elections through in a fair manner.
Some reports have emerged citing fraud, such as stuffing of ballot boxes and burning of polling places. It is hard to say yet how widespread these incidents were, but hopefully, it will become more clear as results continue to be continued. And while there have been a number of violent events, the election has yet to turn into a repeat of Kenya in 2007.
The real test will come when the results are announced as we will see if all of the candidates remain true to their promises to respect the outcome. The height of the violence after the Kenyan election came once the results were confirmed, so it is important that the international community hold off on making broad sweeping conclusions regarding the success of the elections. Time will tell if the situation on the ground becomes one where the UN and other actors are driven to advocate for a power-sharing agreement between Kabila and Tshisekedi.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It's been a little over five months since graduation, and I have been feeling an increasing urge to write about the many news articles and blog posts that I read during most days at work. That being said, this blog will hopefully become a place in which I can detail my own analysis of both international and domestic politics, with a particular focus on conflict resolution and human rights. At the moment, I am employed in an unrelated field, performing rather mundane administrative tasks 35 hours a week. With any luck, this blog will help me to determine my next step, and hopefully push me toward a more fulfilling job in the near future.