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Controversy in DRC over Kabila's presidential mandate

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The debate on whether president Joseph Kabila will stay in power if the country fails to organise its presidential election in November,preoccupies public opinion in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parliamentarians of the ruling party in the DRC recently filed a petition at the constitutional court to push for a clarification on the interpretation of three articles of the country’s constitution.

Kabila’s mandate ends later this year and he is required by the constitution to step down.

“According to our understanding, the president’s mandate expires when a new president is elected, that’s clear. Today we have a president whose mandate expires with the installation of a newly elected president, that’s what the constitution says. But if there are contradictions in the way that it is interpreted, we ask the constitutional court to give us an interpretation that will be accepted by everyone,” Shadari Ramazani, deputy National speaker of Congo’s parliament said.

According to Article 70 of the country’s constitution the president is elected for a five-year term renewable once and stays in office until a new president is elected .

However Article 73 makes it clear that the presidential elections should be organised 90 days before the end of the president’s mandate.

“These people now want to push the constitutional court to rule in Kabila’s favour,” an opposition member Martin Fayulu said. Kabila has been president since 2001 and is required by the constitution to step down when his second mandate expires towards the end of this year.

Some analysts citing Article 75 of the constitution suggest that Kabila should hand over to the president of the senate during the election.

The decision of the constitutional court is expected in the coming days.

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