Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement on yesterday’s elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

“Yesterday’s long-delayed elections were neither free nor fair. More than a million people in key opposition strongholds were barred from participating. Elsewhere, reports of long lines, voting machine malfunctions and missing voter materials were widespread.

“None of this is a surprise. For months, DRC security forces have been cracking down on pro-democracy activists and journalists as Joseph Kabila’s handpicked successor has struggled to gain momentum in the polls. Hundreds have been arrested and scores killed.

“The United States needs to redouble its efforts to support the Congolese people, who want a peaceful transition and a government that responds to their priorities. Our European and African partners need to step up, too. The reported irregularities in yesterday’s elections must be addressed. Votes need to be counted transparently and expeditiously. And those who have undermined the democratic process in the DRC must be held accountable.”

NOTE: Last month the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 6207 to require the administration to determine whether sanctions should be applied against certain DRC officials responsible for human rights abuses and corruption.