Congo ex-leader Kabila's coalition wins decisive senate majority

Saturday March 16 2019

joseph kabila felix tshisekedi

DR Congo's former President Joseph Kabila (right) sits next to his successor Felix Tshisekedi during his inauguration ceremony as the new president on January 24, 2019. PHOTO | OLIVIA ACLAND | REUTERS 

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Former Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s coalition won a clear majority in senate elections on Friday, officials said, 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.

But Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won about 70 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament and an overwhelming majority of provincial assembly seats in elections also held on Dec. 30.

In a statement, FCC national coordinator Nehemie Mwilanya said the coalition had won more than two-thirds of the 109 seats in the senate, or upper chamber, in Friday’s elections, in which only provincial assembly members can vote.

“The Common Front for Congo, which hails this resounding victory, confirms its supremacy as the premier political force in Democratic Republic of Congo,” Mwilanya said.

Jean-Baudouin Mayo, an official from Tshisekedi’s CACH coalition, acknowledged that the FCC had won a clear majority.


In addition to the 108 elected senators, Kabila automatically gets a seat in the upper chamber under Congo’s constitution as a former president.