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DR Congo talks agree to push back presidential vote to 2018: negotiators

President Joseph Kabila

President Joseph Kabila

Participants in Democratic Republic of Congo’s “national dialogue” agreed Monday, in the absence of the main opposition group, to push back to April 2018 the presidential election due to take place before the end of the year, negotiators said.

The deal, reached during talks in Kinshasa, envisages President Joseph Kabila remaining in power until that date despite the fact that his mandate is due to end in December.

“The presidential election will take place on April 29, 2018 and the transfer of power from the outgoing president to the incumbent will take place on May 9,” opposition member Vital Kamerhe, who is a moderator in the talks, told AFP.

The leader of the parliamentary group representing Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) confirmed the statement.

“The election will be held in 2018,” Ramazani Shadari said.

Former Togolese prime minister and facilitator in the talks, Edem Kodjo, said the agreement was approved Monday by all the negotiators taking part in the dialogue.

Under the agreement, a new government would be set up, with the key post of prime minister handed to an opposition figure, Kodjo said.

The deal struck Monday remains fragile, however, as the country’s main opposition group has boycotted the talks.

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Joseph Kabila

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