The leading opposition party in Democratic Republic of Congo has called off talks with representatives of President Joseph Kabila, leaving the two sides deadlocked ahead of next year’s presidential election.
Delegates representing the ruling party, Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and Kabila had been meeting in Europe to discuss the conditions for a national dialogue to pave way for next year’s November election in which Kabila is ineligible to stand.
Critics accuse President Kabila of trying to cling on to power beyond the end of his second elected term next year. They say this is in violation of the constitution.
UDPS President Etienne Tshisekedi issued a statement late Sunday from Brussels, where he has been receiving medical treatment since August 2014, saying the negotiations had failed.
He said that he hoped the differences over upcoming elections could still be resolved through dialogue. The opposition has dismissed the packed calendar of more than a dozen local, provincial and national elections in the next 14 months as a ploy to delay the presidential vote.
The president’s election, which could be DRC’s first ever peaceful transition of power is increasingly doubtful after the constitutional court last week ordered the election commission to revisit the calendar, saying that the budgetary and political constraints have made it unsustainable.
A coalition of opposition parties has called for a mass demonstration in the capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday to demand that Kabila step down next year. Mavungu said the UDPS would not be participating.