Vital Kamerhe, leader of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), announced on Friday, November 23, that he is withdrawing his candidacy for the December 23 presidential elections to back opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) party. Related protests by disappointed supporters of the UNC, as well as rallies by celebrating UPDS supporters, are likely in the coming hours and days.
As a reminder, Tshisekedi is scheduled to return from Kenya to the capital Kinshasa on Saturday, November 24. Gatherings at Ndjili International Airport (FIH) to welcome him are likely. A heightened security presence, as well as significant transportation disruptions around the airport, are also likely.
Seven opposition leaders met in Geneva on November 10-11 to nominate a single candidate for the December 23 elections. Martin Fayulu of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development (ECiDé) was nominated on November 11 following negotiations. However, Tshisekedi and Kamerhe pulled out of the coalition following protests in Kinshasa on November 12 by supporters of both parties denouncing the choice of Fayulu.
The official electoral campaign period began November 22. President Joseph Kabila, whose second term officially ended in December 2016, will not be running himself. He is backing former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari.
Individuals in the DRC are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and obey any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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