Elections are not an end in themselves

Elections are not an end in itself

Reflecting on the challenges facing Félix Tshisekedi's second term

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi was sworn in on 20 January 2024, following the elections of 20-27 December 2023 which gave him 73.34% of the valid votes cast. Unlike the first term and despite the noted irregularities during the electoral process, the Congolese president’s election gives him both electoral legitimacy and a comfortable majority with which to govern the country. Although the election results have been widely accepted by observers and diplomats alike, many have stressed that this win was achieved after elections which were marred by numerous irregularities but that were not exclusively observed in the legislative elections. Such a perspective might reveal a rather normative understanding of what elections ought to be rather than to understand their larger meaning and socio-political impact. This brief, therefore, argues that in order to value the real importance of Congo’s recent elections, we have look at how they have restructured existing power structures and have posed new challenges to the regime on how to nego- tiate between the consolidation of its own power, and the demands and expectations expressed by the Congolese population. In what follows, we will examine a number of these expectations and assess how these are translated into political priorities by Tshisekedi’s regime.

the authors

Aymar N. Bisoka is associate professor in sociology and anthropology at Mons University.

Koen Vlassenroot is a professor in political science at Ghent University and the Director of the Conflict Research Group

Ithiel Batumike is a PhD researcher at Mons University, a researcher at Ebuteli, research lead at Kaziba University and associated researcher at CEGEC-UCB


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