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Demonstrators burn tyres to set up barricades during a protest in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa January 20, 2015. Protests erupted for a second day in Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday over proposed changes to an election law that could delay a vote due in 2016 and allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in power. Picture taken January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Jean Robert N'Kengo
Image: Reuters/N'Kengo

DRC parliament approves amended election law

January 25, 2015

The parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo has passed a new election law after removing contentious provisions ordering a pre-election census. The previous version, passed a week ago, led to deadly protests.


Lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday gave final approval to a disputed new election law in a version amended to remove provisions that the opposition claimed would extend President Joseph Kabila's term in office.

The law, which in its previous version ordered a national census before the next presidential election in 2016, triggered days of protests that killed dozens after the lower house passed it last weekend.

The second vote in the National Assembly on Sunday came after the Senate, under public and diplomatic pressure, on Friday amended the bill to read that the electoral roll only had to be updated by the time elections take place in 2016.

The opposition had said that carrying out a census would cause a long delay to the elections, allowing Kabila to stay in power for longer. A census in Congo could take years to complete owing to the country's large population of 60 million and lack of basic infrastructure.

Joseph Kabila
Opponents fear Kabila will hang on to powerImage: AFP/Getty Images/A. Wandimoyi

Kabila, who first became president in 2001 after the assassination of his father, President Laurent Kabila, is due to step down in 2016 after winning elections in 2006 and 2011. He now has 30 days to sign the bill into law.

tj/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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