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The Democratic Republic of Congo: The Great Electoral Robbery (and how and why Kabila got away with it)

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DRC’s outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who was barred from standing for a third term, has found an entirely novel way of hanging on to power. African presidents have previously achieved this by amending or interpreting their constitutions or by simply not organising presidential polls.] Joseph Kabila’s second and constitutionally last term ended in December 2016. He was unable to create the legal conditions for an additional term but managed to remain in power for two more years through a strategy the Congolese nicknamed ‘le glissement’. Under pressure from internal public opinion and international players, he was forced to organise elections which eventually took place on 30 December 2018. In this brief, we look at the weeks before the elections and at the unexpected results. We discuss the reaction of international partners, with a focus on the African multilateral institutions. We conclude by showing how Kabila managed to remain de facto in power by striking a deal with an opposition candidate and by having his electoral platform fraudulently win the parliamentary and provincial elections.

(Photo: MONUSCO, Flickr)