Congo opposition picks ex-VP as presidential bid

AP News
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Posted: Jul 24, 2011 6:19 AM
Congo opposition picks ex-VP as presidential bid

Congo's opposition party says it has chosen former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba as its presidential candidate for November elections.

Bemba, 48, faces charges of murder, rape and pillage at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Prosecutors say Bemba bears responsibility for atrocities committed by members of his private militia in Central African Republic in 2002-2003.

In a statement by the Movement for the Liberation of Congo late Saturday, it said that Bemba was the "only valid candidate to lead the country."

Congo's pivotal elections are slated for the end of November. Bemba faces President Joseph Kabila who took office in 2001 and was later elected in 2006 in the country's first democratic election.

The vast, mineral-rich Central African nation was ravaged by years of dictatorship and civil war.