June 25, 2011

The Congolese Minister of Finance, Matata Ponyo, and the Representative of the European Union in the DRC, Ambassador Richard Zink, signed an agreement on elections funding on Friday in Kinshasa, with the EU saying it will provide 47,5 million euros for the upcoming elections.

Ambassador Zink said that the elections must be organized in a transparent and credible way, with the participation of all voters, full respect for freedom of expression and association, even in the remotest corners of the DRC.

He added that the EU is by this action fulfilling its commitment for the 2011-2013 election cycle.

The contribution of the EU does not stop with the 47.5 million euros ($67,317,000 US), he said. EU member states like the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Spain, and Italy continue to contribute otherwise, he said.

In addition, Mr. Zink also confirmed the presence in the DRC of an EU exploratory mission to assess political and security conditions for the deployment of election observers, as was the case during the 2006 elections.

The deployment of an EU military mission to secure the elections, as in 2006, is not planned in 2011 because the security situation has improved. However, Ambassador Zink said that the EU has promised to support the national police.

Mr. Ponyo, meanwhile, reported that the Congolese government own contribution has increased from 10% in 2006 to 60% in 2011, or more than $180 million allocated to the electoral process.

The signing was attended by the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission, pastor Daniel Ngoy Mulunda. He assured that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on schedule on November 28, 2011.

Radio Okapi article