Joseph Kabila will not be a candidate in December elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to government officials. Many had predicted that the 47-year-old president, in power since 2001, would run for a third term, despite being barred from doing so by the constitution. Kabila’s candidacy was opposed by the US and EU, as well as significant regional actors. Hours before the legal deadline for deposing candidatures for the polls expired, a government spokesman said that the little-known Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister, would be the ruling coalition’s candidate.
Analysts say the move does not signal Kabila’s retirement from active politics, but was a reluctant strategy forced on him by intense public and diplomatic pressure that will still allow the Congolese leader to retain huge influence during the campaign and if Shadary is victorious.
Shadary is a Kabila loyalist without a following of his own. He is under EU sanctions for his involvement in alleged human rights abuses.