The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo has ruled on Wednesday that President Joseph Kabila would stay in power beyond the end of his mandate if there is a failure to hold election in November.
The Court ruled after around 200 members of parliament from the ruling party filed a petition for an interpretation of articles linked to the mandates of the president and MPs.
Kabila is required by the constitution to step down in December after two five-year terms in office but the election to choose his successor is likely to be delayed due to budgetary and logistical obstacles.
Opinions on the election row has been mixed and analysts believe if the status quo remains, people may soon take to the streets to protest.
President Kabila has refused to state publicly whether he intends to stand for a third term, which would require a constitutional change.
He has instead called for a national dialogue to address obstacles to holding elections.
Meanwhile, Congolese opposition presidential candidate Moise Katumbi has appeared before a prosecutor in Lubumbashi to respond to accusations from the government that he hired foreign mercenaries.
Thousands of his supporters who thronged the prosecutor general’s office were dispersed by police with tear gas.
DRC’s electoral commission said in January that it would take at least 13 months to update voter lists, pushing the election back into 2017.