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Congo’s Challenged Regime

Kabila Holds On

At a protest to press President Joseph Kabila to step down, Kinshasa, September 2016. Kenny Katombe / REUTERS

Over the past few years, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been embroiled in a constitutional crisis. It has recently become acute. President Joseph Kabila’s term will end on December 19, and the constitution requires that an election to select a new president (Kabila is not allowed to run for a third term) and parliament be called 90 days before then. Yet the government has failed to do so, and the electoral commission, which is hardly independent, has not taken even the first steps in organizing a timely vote. The whole question of succession is therefore in abeyance. This has created massive popular protests.

The regime’s response has been twofold. First, it has cracked down on its opponents, who have organized a number of marches demanding Kabila's ouster. In September, for example, at least 50 protesters were killed in response to protests in Kinshasa. Second, the regime organized a national dialogue

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