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Congo politicians seal Kabila transition deal, opposition says

Congolese politicians have agreed in principle to a deal under which President Joseph Kabila leaves office by the end of 2017, opposition leaders said on Friday, an unexpected breakthrough after dozens died in anti-government protests this week.

The ruling government and the opposition bloc in the Democratic Republic Congo ( DRC) have agreed in principle to keep incumbent President Joseph Kabila in power until the end of 2017. The unexpected deal was reached after at least 34 people were killed during anti-government protests earlier this week.

The unrest erupted after Kabila, who is bound by the constitution to step down as he has served two consecutive terms in power, refused to leave office when his term expired on 20 December.

According to the new agreement, Kabila will stay in power for one more year, but the country’s constitution will not be amended to allow the leader to further prolong his time in office.

"Kabila stays for one year," opposition leader Martin Fayulu told Reuters. "He will not try to stand for a new term."

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Clockwise from top left: Olivier Kamitatu, Martin Fayulu, Jean-Bernard Ewanga and Etienne Tshisekedi

Opposition leaders also explained that a prime minister will be named from the main opposition bloc and its leader Etienne Tshisekedi will oversee the implementation of the deal.

The agreement will require final approval by all the delegates at negotiations mediated by the DRC’s Catholic Church.

The government has not commented on the deal.

Earlier this year, the government postponed the presidential election – due to take place in November – to August 2018. Leaders claimed the vote could not take place as the country was not ready and more time was needed to revise voter rolls and raise funds.


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