|Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|UN Member State|
The Democratic Republic of Congo has endured political and social turmoil since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.
International observers hope the July elections will bring the first fully democratic vote in more than 40 years.
Post-independence turmoil saw the rise of Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko who seized, and held onto, power for 32 years until he was deposed by Laurent Kabila's rebellion in 1997.
The UN accused warring sides of prolonging the conflict as they looted natural resources.