More than 2.5 million Congolese have registered with the country’s electoral commission and are anticipated to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
According to the president of the Independent Electoral National Commission of Congo (CNEI) Henri Bouka, everything is in place for the ballot to take place.
Speaking to the press earlier in the week, Bouka said that following a special operation to revise the voters’ list throughout the national territory in January, more voters are expected to the polls.
The revision which lasted a little over a month, was intended to add new voters into the system. They included those who turned 18, the eligible age to vote, since the last elections four years ago and also citizens who had failed to register previously. The commission amended the electoral legislative and local elections list of 2017. 335,000 new registrants were processed by CNEI, bringing the provisional number of persons registered on the electoral roll to 2,545,578. These voters will have a chance to elect the country’s next leader in 5,778 polling stations spread across the country.
Nevertheless, in the beginning of the year, the opposition cast their doubts on the electoral commissions announcement that members of the defence and security forces will vote 48 hours before civilians so that they can devote themselves to securing the vote on polling day. The opposition said that this move risks encouraging double votes.
Addressing the media, Bouka said, “There will never be polling stations in the barracks, it will never be so, because the law prohibits it.” He added that an order establishing the location of the 131 special polling stations selected for the early voting of the defence and security forces was issued by the Interior Ministry.
Bouka emphasised that the role of the commission is to ensure the smooth running of the election campaigns.
Meanwhile, CNEI is working on the publication of the electoral lists and voters are expected to receive their cards 8 days before the day of the ballot as measures are being taken to distribute them on time.