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Congo election happening Dec. 23

By Gwynne Dyer      

So is democracy coming to the Congo at last? Don’t count on it. The regime’s choice for a successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, is a close colleague of Kabila’s with no independent support base of his own, so if elected he would faithfully serve Kabila’s interests.

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, pictured on Oct. 27, 2007, with then U.S. president George W. Bush. Mr. Kabila is actually leaving the presidency after a mere 17 years in power. He hung on for two years past the scheduled election in 2016, offering a series of increasingly absurd reasons for the delay, but the election will actually be held on Dec. 23—and Kabila will not be a candidate. So two cheers for democracy in the DRC, writes Gwynne Dyer. Photograph courtesy of the White House

LONDON, U.K.—Maybe the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a bit more democratic than the mere Republic of Congo, but it’s a matter of (fairly small) degrees. President Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled the Republic of Congo for 34 of the past 39 years, winning a couple of civil wars in the process and changing the constitution when term limits got in the way of his staying in power. He’s still there.

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