S&Ds urge the Democratic Republic of Congo to respect country's Constitution in the electoral process

S&Ds urge the Democratic Republic of Congo to respect country's Constitution in the electoral process, Gianni Pittella, Economic Partnership Agreements, S&D MEP Maria Arena, S&D MEP Antonio Panzeri,

The European Parliament today, with the active contribution from the European Socialists and Democrats, adopted a resolution on the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling its authorities to fully respect the country's constitution, especially on the electoral process.
The president of the S&D Group, Gianni Pittella, said:
"We urge the Congolese authorities to present without further delay an electoral calendar and a budget for the presidential elections in full respect of the constitutional time-frame.
"The Government must accept and work towards an open, democratic and inclusive political debate in the 2016 elections campaign.
"We consider the African Union's role to prevent a political crisis in Central Africa as crucial and we invite its leaders, notably South Africa, to engage in favour of respecting the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We also invite the EU institutions and member states to use all their diplomatic and economic tools, including the forthcoming signature of the Economic Partnership Agreements, to reach this goal."
S&D MEP Maria Arena, coordinator of the women's rights and gender equality committee, said:

"The European Parliament expresses its deep concerns about the increasing instable situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an unclear pre-electoral context.

"The DRC remains a fragile country, with weak institutions and a tremendous need for reconstruction and a revival of economic growth.

"This instability risks in precipitating the country into chaos and plunging its population, already weakened by the different past and present crises, into extreme poverty and insecurity.

"As coordinator of the FEMM Committee, I underline the importance to support the effective implication of women in the electoral process and the need for the country's Government to respect and promote gender equality in political life.

"Our priority is to avoid a new crisis. The Congolese authorities must respect the Constitution and organize free and transparent elections."
S&D MEP Antonio Panzeri added:
"We strongly condemn the increasing restrictions of democratic space and targeted repression of members of the opposition, civil society and media.
"The European Union should reinforce the support to civil society, especially to human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It should also ensure their protection and security.
"Fundamental freedom of expression, association and assembly are the basis of a dynamic, political and democratic life."