The Democratic Republic of the Congo before the election - Foundation Office Serbia / Montenegro
After almost five years in office, President Tshisekedi of the Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS) has to stand for re-election. His appointment as president was the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the Central African country - albeit due to controversial election results. This year's elections are therefore seen as a critical test for democracy in the DR Congo. The nationwide focus is primarily on the electoral commission Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI) and whether the institution will this time succeed in organising a credible election in order for the new or old president to be inaugurated on 20 January 2024 - a mammoth task given the enormous size of the country and its desolate infrastructure.
Even though over 900 parties are contesting the election, the prospects for Tshisekedi and his party alliance are promising, partly due to the electoral system and partly due to the (still) fragmented field of opposition candidates. In addition, the president has the entire state power apparatus at his disposal, has expanded his political influence in the five years of his first term of office and has successfully emancipated himself from the power structure of his predecessor Joseph Kabila.