That the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) failed in its job of organising fair and transparent elections seems by now to have been accepted by almost all the national and international bodies which played a role in the electoral process in the DRC. The sole exception is the president of the CENI himself who, claims to be satisfied with the way in which the institution over which he presides was able to cope with the enormous challenges represented by these elections. It is plain that many agree that the CENI as it now is has lost all credibility. For this reason it is incapable, in its present form, of being a credible organiser of the follow up of the electoral process which should lead to provincial and local elections, vital for the future of the democratisation process in the country. For several years EurAc has been advocating the holding of local elections, being convinced that these represent the sole guarantee that the Congolese people will be actively involved in the election of their representatives. This is why we repeat yet again how vital it is not to allow a situation where it is accepted that the next five years go by without local authorities close to the people being put in place. On the other hand it seems to us that there is no unanimity about possible solutions which might enable the country to emerge from the deep crisis into which it has fallen following the presidential and legislative elections. A number of Congolese civil society bodies, including the AETA network with which EurAc observed the November 2011 elections, have added their names to a petition demanding firstly the resignation of the CENI, and secondly a genuine representation of civil society on the board of the new CENI. In this context the observation mission of the European Union has formulated several recommendations. One concerns investment in civic education, something that Congolese civil society organisations are very good at ; another is the restructuring of the CENI «to make it truly representative, guaranteeing a good representation on the part of civil society and taking into account the new political realities». For EurAc, which supports the idea of giving civil society the chance to play an active role in the electoral process, a truly independent CENI should not have its members chosen by political parties, as this leads inescapably to its total politicisation. As indicated in its last communiqué, EurAc asks the European Union to support the DRC electoral process if, certain conditions are met. These include the choice of members of the CENI on the basis of their personal qualities, professional experience and integrity. Since we already have proof that a CENI whose members are chosen on the basis of their political allegiance has failed, those engaged in the democratic process must take their courage in both hands. They must accept a model that should have been in place long ago and is the only one able to respond to the real challenge faced today and in the future. In other words, give real power to the Congolese people both at the beginning and at the end of the democratisation process in their country.
EurAc Executive Secretary AI
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