On 6 December 2006, Joseph Kabila was sworn in as the first democratically elected president since Congolese independence, concluding a landmark electoral process largely devoid of major violence or gross irregularities. Democratic governance is now expected to support peacebuilding and reconstruction. The new government has weak and barely functioning institutions, however, and the international community, which has given decisive support to the peace process, must continue to help it overcome serious security and political challenges. Immediate agenda items include to set up promptly a new structure to coordinate aid efforts, renew the United Nations Mission (MONUC) with a strong mandate and increase efforts to improve security throughout the country. The second-round challenger in the presidential election, Jean-Pierre Bemba, conceded defeat and has committed to lead the opposition in parliament once elected senator, although he did not accept the validity of the poll results. Kabila’s election, establishment of a newly elected parliament and implementation of the constitution adopted by referendum on 18 December 2005 bring an end to the transition born out of the 2002 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in Pretoria. They provide the fundamental elements of the political dispensation promised to the Congolese people during the peace talks and open a new era for the country. With a reasonably clear popular mandate – 58 per cent in the run-off round – and a strong majority in parliament, Kabila controls roughly three fifths of both houses and is empowered to consolidate peace and stability in the country. The peace process, how