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DRC: Kabila Will Name Successor Candidate by July

Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Jan. 26, 2018.

A spokesman for the Democratic Republic of Congo says President Joseph Kabila intends to respect the constitution and relinquish power after elections scheduled for December.

Speaking to VOA's French to Africa language service, Lambert Mende said despite delays the government is finishing voter registration in remote areas of the country and is on track to hold elections according to the timetable set by the electoral commission.

He added Kabila does not intend to seek reelection, and will announce in July his choice of a candidate to compete in the December poll.

According to the country's constitution, the president can not seek a third consecutive term in office.

Joseph Kabila assumed the presidency in January 2001, days after the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila. He was elected president in his own right in 2006, and re-elected to a second term in 2011.

But he refused to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016. Elections meant to replace him have been repeatedly delayed, prompting his opponents to accuse him of derailing the process in order to cling to power, a charge he has denied.

Under a church-mediated deal between Kabila and his opponents, the president was to step down at the end of last year, paving the way for an election in early 2018. But Kabila reneged on the deal, pushing back elections until the end of 2018, at the earliest.