WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department on Thursday commended Congo’s President Joseph Kabila for not seeking a third term in the country’s December elections and called on Congolese leadership to guarantee a credible vote.
“The ruling coalition’s announcement of a consensus candidate other than President Kabila represents a significant step forward for Congolese democracy,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “Government, opposition, and civil society leaders, along with the heads of the security services share with President Kabila the responsibility of ensuring full respect for democratic norms.“
A Kabila spokesman on Wednesday said he would not run in the Dec. 23 election, with a hard-core loyalist, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, running in his place. Kabila was due to step down in 2016, but the vote to replace him was repeatedly delayed.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by Jonathan Oatis)