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Kabila Says He’ll Not Contest DRC Presidential Poll

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila will not stand in December’s presidential election, a spokesman said on Wednesday, announcing that former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary would be the ruling coalition’s candidate.

The announcement by spokesman Lambert Mende at a news conference puts an end to years of speculation about whether Kabila would defy term limits to run for a third term.

Kabila was due to step down in 2016 at the end of his constitutional mandate but the election to replace him was repeatedly delayed. That sparked protests in which the military and police killed dozens of people. Militia violence also rose in the country’s volatile eastern borderlands.

Kabila’s political allies had floated various legal arguments they said would justify his running again but he came under strong pressure from regional allies like Angola as well as the United States and EU to stand down.

The selection of Ramazani is, however, a defiant move by Kabila. A former interior minister, he is under European Union sanctions for alleged human rights abuses, including deadly crackdowns by security forces on protesters.

“We are all going to align behind (him),” Mende said. “It is Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, permanent secretary of the (ruling) PPRD.”

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