After weeks of negotiations, Congo’s ruling party signed a deal with opposition leaders that aims to end President Joseph Kabila’s 15-year-rule.
National institutions such as the national monitoring committee now need to ensure an inclusive process that involves all political role-players, government spokesman, Lambert Omalanga, told local media on Sunday.
The accord, which was mediated by the Catholic Church in Congo and signed late on Saturday night, allows Kabila to remain president until elections are held by the end of 2017.
The agreement comes after months of protest against Kabila’s staying in power beyond his second term. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed.
Kabila would normally have relinquished power on December 19 at midnight, but the elections due in November were postponed to April 2018, citing logistical problems.
On Dec. 19, Kabila announced a transitional government that had been agreed with part of the opposition.
It was not accepted by the main opposition parties which regard the postponement of the elections as a ploy for the president to stay in power beyond the two terms allowed by the constitution.
Saturday’s agreement “must allow for full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
“Too many victims and arbitrary arrests have been observed in recent weeks,” Federica said.
Observers fear increasing unrest in the central African nation which has been unstable since the fall of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, with dozens of armed groups currently vying for power in the mineral-rich east of the country.