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President Joseph Kabila’s second term has already elapsed last year and he’s not allowed by the Congolese constitution to run again. However, the man, who has been in power since 2001, does not want to leave office / Photo: CTO

Elections unlikely to take place this year in DR Congo – Electoral commission

The president of Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission has said that a vote to replace President Joseph Kabila will probably not be possible this year, violating a deal that let Kabila stay on past the end of his mandate.

Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his second elected term in December 2016 sparked protests that killed dozens of people. The opposition quickly denounced commission president Corneille Nangaa’s announcement on Sunday (9 July) as a declaration of “war”.

“The parameters at our disposal give us, more or less, reason to think that, in December, it will probably not be possible to stick to that date,” Nangaa said in an interview on France’s TV5Monde, referring to the year-end deadline.

Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has described the election commission’s statement as akin to declaring war on the Congolese people and has vowed to resist any attempt to stalemate the democratic process in the vast and stupendously naturally-endowed country / Photo: FTT


Under the accord struck on 31 December between Kabila’s representatives and opposition leaders, Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is also barred from trying to change the constitution to stand for a third term.

However, Kabila has said only the electoral commission can schedule the vote once it finishes enrolling millions of voters. In an interview last month with German newspaper Der Spiegel, he also said that he had “promised nothing” in the December deal.

In response to Nangaa’s comments, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi wrote on Twitter that the commission president “had declared war on the Congolese people” and promised a full response by the country’s main opposition bloc.

© Reuters

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