DR Congo

Canada supports electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Ottawa -- Minister of International Cooperation Aileen Carroll and Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced today that Canada will provide $10 million to support a free, fair and transparent election process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They made the announcement to mark the start of the enumeration and voter registration process in the country. The funding will be provided by the Canadian International Development Agency in cooperation with Canada Corps.
"Today, the DRC is at a major crossroads," said Minister Carroll. "This is a country with enormous potential that has been suffering for too long. The elections will provide an opportunity for a new start. The international support for the entire electoral cycle will enable the people of the DRC to have full confidence in the democratic process. Canada will continue to help the Congolese people meet this important challenge."

"Canada, which is a member of the International Committee in Support of the Transition in Kinshasa, is supporting DRC's efforts in the pursuit of democracy," said Minister Pettigrew. "We urge all Congolese to participate in the electoral process, which will be a vital stage of the transition. The elections to be held in DRC by June 2006 will help establish political stability, which will enable the Congolese people to live in harmony and rebuild their vast country."

In 2006, the DRC will hold its first free and transparent elections in 40 years. After more than three decades of dictatorship and then one of the bloodiest civil wars in recent times, the DRC's Transitional Government is preparing for a new democratic beginning.

A sum of $3.5 million will support non-governmental organizations and Canadian experts providing civic and voter education. A further $6.5 million will be provided to the United Nations Development Programme to carry out activities such as enumeration and voter registration, a referendum on a proposed new constitution that is scheduled for November 2005, and parliamentary and presidential balloting in 2006.

Canada Corps is an initiative to strengthen Canada's contribution to governance in the developing world.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

Information

Andrew Graham
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: (819) 953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: (819) 953-6534
E-mail: info@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Sébastien Théberge
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Telephone: (613) 995-1851

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs Canada
Telephone: (613) 995-1874