Senate drops clause requiring census before Congo presidential vote

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 23, 2015 5:21 AM

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congo's Senate on Friday dropped a clause requiring a national census before 2016 presidential elections, following days of violent protests against the reform which opposition leaders said was aimed at extending President Joseph Kabila's term.

The Senate approved a modified version of Article 8 of the law saying that updating of the electoral list must be done in respect of the constitutional deadline for presidential and legislative elections.

The clause, which was approved at the weekend by the lower house of parliament, has sparked opposition-led protests in which at least 42 people were killed in Kinshasa, according to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

A mixed commission will now be charged with reconciling the two bodies’ bills before a final vote, expected before the close of the current parliamentary session on Monday.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Bate Felix)