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DRC's Kabila Names New Prime Minister

FILE - Opposition politician Badibanga Ntita Samy is seen attending the opening ceremony of a Congolese "National Dialogue" in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, Sept. 1, 2016. In a surprise move, President Joseph Kabila on Thursday named Samy prime minister.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has named a new prime minister.

Kabila picked opposition lawmaker Badibanga Ntita Samy to lead the unity government that will run the country until postponed elections are held. The elections, which originally had been slated for this month, are now provisionally scheduled for April 2018.

The previous government resigned this week in line with a deal between the president and an opposition faction that will allow Kabila to stay in office past the end of his second term.

The choice of Samy was seen as a surprise. Vital Kamerhe, who led the opposition faction that negotiated with Kabila, was widely expected to become prime minister.

A larger opposition faction, called the Rassemblement, objects to the deal and is calling on Kabila to step down by December 19, the date his second - and according to the constitution, final term - is due to end.

Members of the Rassemblement say Kabila will use his extended time in office to change the constitution so he can seek another term.

More than 50 people were killed during violent protests over the delayed elections in September, according to rights groups and the United Nations.

Kabila has led Congo since succeeding his father, Laurent Kabila, in 2001, initially as an unelected head of state and since 2006 as the elected president.