NewsCentral AfricaCongo ruling coalition's presidential candidate to be announced "in the coming hours"


Posted on Wednesday, 08 August 2018 12:32

Congo ruling coalition's presidential candidate to be announced "in the coming hours"

By Reuters

 President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)The Democratic Republic of Congo was braced on Wednesday (August 8) for President Joseph Kabila to name the candidate to represent his ruling coalition in the presidential election in December.

Speaking after a meeting between Kabila and coalition members at his farm in the village of Kingakati, about 80 km (50 miles) outside the capital Kinshasa, the government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Tuesday (August 7) the candidate will be announced "within hours".

Kabila, in power since 2001, is barred by term limits from running for re-election but has refused to commit publicly to not standing. That has raised fears he might do so anyway, which risks throwing the volatile central African country into chaos.

Announcement within hours

Participants of the meeting in Kingakati included Mende, Commerce Minister Jean-Lucien Bussa, Planning Minister Modeste Bahati and the president of the lower house of parliament, Aubin Minaku.

Minaku has been tipped as one of the candidates to emerge as Kabila's chosen successor, as has former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo.

Several opposition candidates have also registered their candidacies for the December 23 vote. They include former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was recently acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court, and Vital Kamerhe, who finished third in the 2011 election.

Felix Tshisekedi, the president of Congo's largest opposition party, the UDPS, and son of the late opposition icon Etienne Tshisekedi, filed his candidacy at the electoral commission headquarters in Kinshasa on Tuesday (August 7).

Tryphon Kin-Kiey, a Kabila ally who founded a political party called "Kabila Desire", also submitted his candidacy on Tuesday as an independent, a move that was quickly disavowed by members of his political coalition.

Candidates have until Wednesday afternoon (August 8) to register with the national electoral commission.

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