19 December 2005

Secretary-General Calls on Citizens of Democratic Republic of Congo to Turn out in Large Numbers for 18 December Constitutional Referendum

NEW YORK, 16 December (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

On 18 December, the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be asked to vote on a new constitution, in a referendum which marks the beginning of the long-awaited electoral process in the country after years of conflict, turmoil and immeasurable suffering.  With the full and sustained support of the United Nations and the international community, significant progress has been made towards restoring peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  With almost 25 million voters registered, Congolese citizens have clearly demonstrated their desire for their country to join the ever-growing family of democratic States around the world.

However, for the democratic process to succeed, it is essential that the Congolese people play their full part.  The Secretary-General appeals to the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to turn out in large numbers, and in a peaceful and orderly manner, to cast their votes in the referendum and thus play their part in ensuring that their country continues along the path to peace, democracy and prosperity.

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