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DRC's Kabila Gives No Clues of His Future Plans

Congo's President Joseph Kabila speaks during the state of the nation address to the National Assembly in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, July 19, 2018.

The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, said Thursday that there would be a presidential election on Decenber 23, but did not say what his political plans were.

Kabila told the nation in a televised speech that he “unequivocally respects the constitution.”

But the opposition says it fears he may try to hold on to power.

Kabila’s two-term limit as an elected leader ended in 2016. But violence, armed militias and problems organizing a new vote have twice postponed a new election.

The constitution allows Kabila to remain in office until a successor is elected. But the opposition, along with the United States and others, has expressed dismay at the postponements.

Kabila said Thursday that Congo was “not willing to receive lessons in democracy.”

Kabila has led the Democratic Republic of the Congo since his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001.