Election officials in the Republic of Congo began issuing voter cards on Wednesday ahead of the country’s presidential elections.
According to interior minister Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou, electors are expected to receive their cards in the next few days as each of the 2,545,578 registered voters in the oil rich nation is required to bring a voting card on election day. These voters will have a chance to elect the country’s next leader in 5,778 polling stations spread across the country.
Voters will receive electors identity cards from area chiefs as district mayors, sub-prefects and members of local election organization sub-commissions have been instructed to ensure the distribution of voter cards.
In rural areas, distribution will be done by the village chief and his secretary under the authority and responsibility of a mobile group of agents assigned to this task by the local administrative and electoral authorities.
Uncollected cards will be safeguarded and presented in various polling stations where one can access on voting day, stated the minister. He also addressed the thorny issue on the electoral commissions announcement that members of the defence and security forces will vote 48 hours before civilians to ensure that other polls will take place in complete transparency. Mboulou assured that the distribution of voter cards will be done under the authority and responsibility of various commanders of the security forces.
“It is in peace and love of country that the voting operations will take place throughout the national territory,” stated the minister.
Voting will take place on the 17th and 21st of March, with seven presidential hopefuls including the outgoing president Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Meanwhile, the number of those expected to turn up to the polls has risen from the last electoral list by 335,000. The increase was as a result of the revision of the voters list which lasted a little over a month from January 7 till February 10.