DR of Congo senate elections complicate president’s rule, or do they?

Former Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s coalition won a clear majority in senate elections, further undermining his successor Felix Tshisekedi’s ability to govern independently.

Opposition leader Tshisekedi won a surprise victory in the presidential election on December 30 over Kabila’s hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Kabila was barred by term limits from standing for a new term after 18 years in power.

Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won about 70% of seats in the lower house of parliament and an overwhelming majority of provincial assembly seats in elections held at the same time as the presidential election.

A flurry of accusations of poll fraud, as well as corrupt practices, made the rounds before and after the elections, leading the Congo’s attorney general to ask the electoral commission to postpone the vote over such allegations but it declined to do so.

Others accuse Tshisekedi of striking a deal with Kabila to rig the presidential election when it became clear Kabila’s preferred candidate could not win, and this is a form of payback.