DR Congo president to serve beyond 2016

Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) President, Joseph Kabila

Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) President, Joseph Kabila will remain in office beyond 2016, when his term is supposed to end, if presidential elections are not held this year as expected.

The Constitutional Court made a ruling in response to a case filed by over 250 parliamentarians in the presidential majority camp seeking interpretation of articles 70 and 75 of the Constitution regarding the end of a presidential term.

“Based on the principle of continuity of the state and to avert the possibility of having a vacuum in the highest office in the land, the current president will continue serving until a new president is sworn in,” the court said in a ruling read by its president Benoit Luamba.

In its judgement, the court chose to focus on article 70 which states that “at the end of his term, the president of the republic will remain in office until the swearing in of the new president-elect.”

Political divide
For some time now, DR Congo’s political class has been deeply divided over the issue of the end of presidential term.

Some opposition politicians have accused Kabila of not being interested in organizing elections this year to stay in power beyond 2016.

The president of the National Independent Electoral Commission, Corneille Nangaa said recently that it was impossible to organise elections within the constitutional timeline without revising the electoral register, a process that will take at least 17 months.