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Fayulu confirms candidacy for presidential polls

More opposition candidates are joining the race and pressuring the electoral commission to make urgent reforms

Opposition leader Martin Fayulu has confirmed that he will contest presidential elections due in December, paving the way for a contest that would repeat the line-up of the elections in 2019, which many independent observers judged him to have won. Fayulu's Engagement for Citizenship and Development party has filed papers confirming his candidacy, officials have said.

A former ExxonMobil executive, Fayulu has been focusing his campaigning work, particularly in the United States, on the role of the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante, and the need for fair elections.

The opposition leader has the non-profit Vanguard Africa and Future Pact, a Washington DC lobby outfit, working on his behalf. Future Pact's Bruce Fryer received consultancy fees of over US$185,000 last year (AC Vol 64 No 19, Seck seeks DC clout).

However, political control over CEMI gives incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi a major advantage both in deciding when the elections are held and their conditions (AC Vol 64 No 1, Horse-trading risks poll delay).

CEMI director Denis Kadima has already indicated that insecurity in the east of the country could be enough reason to put off elections and the unpopularity of the East African Community's regional military force, whose mandate in eastern Congo-K has been extended to December, is also likely to be a key electoral factor determining whether the polls take place on time (Dispatches 13/9/23, Violence in the east is escalating and threatening the elections).

Katanga Governor Moïse Katumbi is also expected to confirm his plans to run. Fayulu and other opposition leaders and their supporters have been banned from protesting outside CEMI's headquarters. They say that they have forced some concessions from the commission, including a commitment to publish the results of the election 'polling station by polling station', a step that, they say, will make it possible for party election agents to monitor the tallying process.

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