Zaire: Joint Pre-Election Assessment Mission, September/October 1996

Publication Date: 
31 Oct 1996

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  

Introduction

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) sent a six-member team to Zaire from September 14 through October 9, 1996. The team's mission was to assess the state of preparations for elections currently scheduled for May 1997 and to report its findings and recommendations to the United States Government and the international community. The team met with government officials, political leaders and representatives of civil society in Kinshasa and in eight of Zaire's other 10 provinces.

This report puts Zaire's transition to democracy into perspective by noting its historical, social and political context. It describes the organizations, governmental and non-governmental, involved in election preparations. These include governmental institutions, political parties and civil society. The report discusses the technical, financial and logistical requirements for elections and assesses the need for political will to meet these challenges. It offers recommendations on how the U.S. government and the international community might assist Zaire in preparing for elections, although there are limits to the ability of the international community to influence positively this process.

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