Minister for Foreign Affairs Welcomes Peaceful Conduct of Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., has expressed a warm welcome for the peaceful and orderly conduct of yesterday's presidential and parliamentary elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the first multi-party elections held in the DRC in over forty years.
“These elections represent a critical watershed for the DRC and its people, and indeed for the Great Lakes region of Africa as a whole. I am encouraged by the manner in which the Congolese people have demonstrated their fervent desire to build a new, democratic DRC, by turning out in such large numbers to vote.”
“The peaceful conduct of the elections is also a tribute to the sterling work of the United Nations and the international community in preparing for, and supporting these important elections.”
Ireland has contributed €1.3 million to support the holding of the elections in the DRC and is also providing seven members of the Permanent Defence Forces to serve with EUFOR DRC, the mission which the EU has deployed at the request of the UN to provide support to the UN peace-keeping mission, MONUC.
The Minister added; “Having demonstrated their faith in a democratic future for their country, the next crucial step is for the verdict of the Congolese people to be respected, as the results become available over the coming weeks, and for all political parties in the DRC to continue working together, in an inclusive manner, to deliver effective, accountable government for all the Congolese people. Ireland and the international community will continue working with the new government in the DRC to ensure this happens.”
Note for Editors
The elections on 30 July represent the first multi-party elections in the DRC in over forty years. A total of 33 candidates contested the presidency and over 9,000 candidates stood for 500 seats in the new Parliament. In the event that no candidate secures an absolute majority in the contest for the presidency, a second round of voting, scheduled for mid-October, will be necessary. It is likely to be mid-August before any preliminary indications of results becomes available.
The overall cost of the elections is estimated at some US$400 million. Ireland has contributed €1.3 million in support of the electoral process while the EU and its Member States overall have contributed in the region of €235 million. Ireland is also contributing seven military personnel to the EU mission, EUFOR DRC, which has been deployed, at UN request, in order to provide support to the UN peace-keeping mission, MONUC, should that prove necessary.
31 July 2006