DR Congo’s Kabila ‘should lead unity government’

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President Kabila waves a greeting
Mr Kabila, 45, is one of Africa’s youngest rulers

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila should lead a transitional unity government tasked with organising presidential elections, according to a draft political deal circulated among delegates at government-sponsored talks in the capital, Kinshasa.

The talks are being boycotted by the main opposition parties, which are pressing for the elections to take place in November and for Mr Kabila to leave office in December, when his two terms as elected leader end.

Mr Kabila’s main rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, has warned that he will be committing “high treason” if he remains in office.

The constitution bars Mr Kabila from running for another term, but DR Congo’s highest court has ruled that he can stay in power until elections take place.

Under the proposed plan, a national unity government will be set up, with Mr Kabila remaining as head of state until his successor is elected.

Protesters and police in Kinshasa
Protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets to demand an end to Mr Kabila’s rule in December

A prime minister will be appointed from the ranks of the opposition, and he will chair the unity government, according to a draft document circulated.

It does not set a timetable for the polls. The election commission has said it will need until the middle of next year to register voters in the vast resource-rich country.

The proposal is likely to rejected by the main opposition parties and civil society groups who believe Mr Kabila wants to delay the election so that he does not have to leave office.

At least 17 people were killed last week in clashes between police and opposition supporters demanding that he adheres to the constitution by standing down as president in December.

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