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DRC: Controversial electoral reform bill will be amended, says national assembly chief

Part of an electoral reform bill in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which the opposition says was aimed at keeping President Joseph Kabila in

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DRC: Controversial electoral reform bill will be amended, says national assembly chief

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Part of an electoral reform bill in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which the opposition says was aimed at keeping President Joseph Kabila in power, will now be removed.

The head of the national assembly Aubin Minaku said the line will be “purely and simply withdrawn.” He added that “we have responded to the people’s expectations.”

According to Minaku, lawmakers will vote on the bill on Sunday – potentially ending violent protests which have left more than 40 dead in recent days.

Under Kabila’s proposed law, a national census would have to be completed before the next presidential elections, expected in 2016. The government argues a census is long overdue and would allow better management of the country.

But the opposition says the new bill is a ploy to keep Kabila in power beyond the end of his mandate in 2016 – as a census would take years to complete in an impoverished country the size of western Europe.

The assembly approved the bill with the census requirement last weekend, while the Senate voted on Friday to exclude it from the proposed legislation.