The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Senate will vote Thursday on an amended electoral law that may not require a new census before presidential elections are held, potentially resolving a debate that triggered deadly protests. “In principle we’ll have a law that will clarify this problem and we hope this will calm public opinion,” Senator Emery Kalamba said by phone from the capital, Kinshasa. A parliamentary commission is currently amending the law, he said. Demonstrations against the law continued for a fourth day, spreading to the eastern city of Goma where at least one man died, Thomas D’Aquin Muiti, president of Civil Society in North Kivu province, said by phone. Police and soldiers were deployed throughout Kinshasa, where more than 40 people have died in protests since Jan. 19, according to human-rights groups.
The protesters were seeking to prevent the Senate from voting on the electoral law, which opposition parties said would delay the vote due in 2016 and extend President Joseph Kabila’s 14-year rule. Kabila, who came to power after his father Laurent was killed in 2001, was first elected in 2006 and again in a disputed election in 2011. The constitution bars him from running for a third term.