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.