Congo's president not running again in long-delayed election

Congo's president not running again in long-delayed election

Kabila, who came to power in 2001 after the assassination of his father, former President Laurent Kabila, by law can not run again after his mandate ended in December 2016.

Congo's president is not running again in December's long-delayed elections, easing concerns by the opposition and global community that he would try to stay in power.

Worldwide pressure had been growing on Kabila and his government over the election delay, with the United States in June taking the unusual step of announcing visa bans on several Congolese senior officials but not naming names, citing their involvement in "significant corruption" related to the electoral process.

Opponents staged protests that were bloodily repressed, triggering angry condemnations from the United States and the European Union.

After submitting his candidacy, Shadary praised Kabila, saying he kept his word about not running for another term and that the submission was made under his moral authority.

Candidates who have already filed their bid include Jean-Pierre Bemba, 55, a former warlord and Kabila rival, who returned to Kinshasa last week after being acquitted of war crimes convictions by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

"(Kabila) said there would be no problem.

Late Tuesday, Kabila held talks with his political allies, who are joined in an electoral platform called the Common Front for Congo (FCC), on picking a candidate who would succeed him.

"What matters for the moment is that the constitution, whether willingly or not, has been respected", said Senator Jacques Ndjoli of the opposition Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) party.

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Ramazani Shadary, a Kabila loyalist, is permanent secretary of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD).

The election should herald Congo's first democratic transition of power following decades marked by authoritarian rule, coups and deadly conflict.

But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, while welcoming Kabila's announcement, said in a statement on Wednesday that much more needed to be done to ensure a credible election in December.

His supporters dismiss these concerns.

Sawyer pointed to the barring in recent days of opposition leader Moise Katumbi from entering the country to register as a candidate.

By the close of registration on Wednesday evening, more than two dozen candidates had filed papers to run in the election.

The definitive list of candidates is set to be announced on September 19 after each name is validated by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).

A nationwide opinion poll last month showed opposition candidates collecting a significant majority of the vote with potential candidates from the ruling coalition trailing far behind.

Katumbi, 53, a wealthy businessman and former governor of the province of Katanga, was unable to cross the border from Zambia where he and his team remain as of Wednesday.

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