Country Risk

Delaying of DRC election results announcement increases likelihood of extension of president’s mandate to March

07 January 2019

Protesters, waiting to cast their ballots in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s elections, demonstrate in Kinshasa on 30 December 2018. Source: Luis Tato/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • The announcement of DRC's 30 December election results will likely be delayed to March or April (while four excluded localities vote), effectively extending the administration of incumbent President Joseph Kabila through this period.
  • The outright annulment of the 30 December election remains less likely, despite Kabila's chosen successor candidate (Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary) having probably lost heavily in the presidential vote, due to the mass anti-government protests this would likely spark.
  • The announcement of a victory by opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu (who the Catholic Church has indicated was the winner) is unlikely, but would pose high risks of looting by military elements and a coup attempt in Kinshasa.


The delaying of the results announcement on the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) 30 December elections to March or April is likely, as incumbent President Joseph Kabila seeks to extend his administration and secure either his chosen successor's victory or a new political authority. Anti-government protests in towns and cities are likely under such delays, but of smaller size and duration than would probably occur in response to the (less likely) immediate announcement of a victory by Kabila's chosen successor or the outright invalidation of the 30 December results, which would respectively pose high and very high protest and riot risks.

The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante: CENI), Corneille Nangaa, announced on 6 January that provisional results from the DRC's 30 December presidential, legislative, and provincial elections would not be announced that day (as scheduled). Nangaa said that, instead, the results announcement would be delayed until "next week", claiming that around half of the votes remained uncounted. CENI has come under pressure from the DRC Catholic Church's National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (Conférence Épiscopale Nationale du Congo: CENCO), which mounted its own 40,000-strong electoral observer mission and parallel vote tabulation operation.

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