At Leopoldville, Capital of the Belgian Congo, June 16, National Congolese Movement leader Patrice Lumumba obtained from Belgian Resident Minister Walter Ganshof van der Meersch a one-day extension of his mission to sound out the possibilities of forming the first Congolese Government.
GV Van der Meersch during press conference
SV PAN..Map showing political following in Congo
STV Van der Meersch
SV PAN..Lumumba arrives at Minister's home
SCU PAN..Lumumba enters Minister's home
SV Armed guard
SCU PAN..Spectators at Minister's home
SCU Lumumba shakes hands with Minister
STV Lumumba talks with press
SV PAN..Lumumba enters car
SV Car leaving
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Background: At Leopoldville, Capital of the Belgian Congo, June 16, National Congolese Movement leader Patrice Lumumba obtained from Belgian Resident Minister Walter Ganshof van der Meersch a one-day extension of his mission to sound out the possibilities of forming the first Congolese Government.
After reporting to van der Meersch in the morning, Lumumba told the press the Minister would have talks with reluctant Congolese leaders to help him "surmount certain obstacles". The nationalist leader reaffirmed his earlier claims that he had "the necessary political majority to form a legal government." He added: "We want more, however. We want a government of national union."
Minister van der Meersch announced simultaneously that the Congolese Chamber and Senate would be convened for their first session on June 17.
Lumumba suffered a serious setback in his efforts to find a broad government coalition, June 15, when Abako - Lower Congo party - leader Joseph Kasavubu refused to see him. Kasavubu is reported to have set up an anti-Lumumba coalition with several other parties, claiming they control 78 of the 137 seats.
Abako is pursuing its drive for a Lower Congo state in a federal Congo. A recent party communique says Abako will fight for basic changes in the fundamental independence law. This law was approved by the Belgian Parliament earlier this year and provides for a unified Congo state, with provincial councils having only local authority.
At Elizabethville, in the southeast, Conakat leader Moise Tshombo is also fighting for federalism. His party wants a united Congo in which each state would remain sovereign.