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DRC deal on Kabila presidency signing set for Friday

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A deal to end the political stalemate in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in which incumbent President Joseph Kabila could stay in power for one year pending elections in 2017, is set to be signed Friday.

Media sources indicate that political parties involved in the talks led by the Roman Catholic Bishops in the country, say a breakthrough is imminent and that under the deal Kabila would stay in power for a year but the constitution not be changed to let him run again.

Catholic Bishops Conference president, Marcel Utembi told reporters that they have finished practically 95 percent of the work and that there remains a short way to go.

CLINGING TO POWER: DRC President Joseph Kabila

Kabila’s mandate expired on Tuesday but he has remained in office. A presidential election scheduled for last month was postponed until at least April 2018 because of what the government said were delays in registering voters. Scores of people were killed in protests calling for Kabila to step aside.
However, the DRC’s main opposition bloc warned that several significant differences remained and that if the divergences are not bridged, it will be difficult to sign the accord.

Divisions persisted over whether the prime minister will come from the main opposition bloc, and the composition of the electoral commission, which the opposition accuses of pro-government bias.

A deal could be a breakthrough for a country that has not seen a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgian colonial rule in 1960.

It would also come as a surprise following a week in which security forces killed dozens of people protesting Kabila’s tenure.
There was no immediate comment from Kabila, whose representatives participated in the talks.
 

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