The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the body that administers elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), announced Wednesday that voting would extend into a second day on Thursday. The DRC general election was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, with over 20 presidential candidates seeking to defeat incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi.According to CENI’s statement, however, some polling locations experienced delays in receiving their election materials and equipment, preventing some voters from participating. Only those assigned to vote at locations that experienced delays and closures will be able to participate in the extra day of voting. The administrative body also asserted its commitment to ensuring that every voter has the opportunity to cast their ballot.In light of the circumstances, a group of five presidential candidates issued a statement challenging the legality of CENI’s decision. Martin Fayulu and Denis Mukwege, top opposition candidates for the presidency, are among the challengers.The one-day extension comes amid a contentious and disorderly election cycle plagued by violent incidents. Notably, multiple people were injured by gunshots at a rally for opposition candidate Moïse Katumbi earlier this month, and two parliamentary candidates were killed in advance of this week’s election. Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Congolese authorities to investigate incidents of violence occurring through the DRC related to the presidential election. Though the European Union (EU) planned an electoral observation mission to monitor human rights conditions in the DRC leading up to and during the general election, it was cancelled earlier this month due to security concerns.The DRC election results and consequential effects on human rights in the country are likely to have global ramifications. The DRC is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and Africa’s largest producer of copper. Both minerals are widely used in clean energy innovations including electric vehicle manufacturing. However, a recent report from Amnesty International reveals that Congolese people have been forcibly evicted from their homes in order to accommodate expanding mining projects.

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