Kinshasa, Nov 5, 2017 (AFP)

The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold its much delayed presidential and legislative elections in December 2018, the election commission announced Sunday.
“Direct voting” will take place on December 23, 2018, covering presidential, legislative, regional and local elections, said Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) official Jean-Pierre Kalamba.
Elections had been due to take place this year under a deal whereby President Joseph Kabila would leave office but repeated wrangling has hobbled the process.
The electoral commission said that the provisional results of the presidential election would not be published until a week after the voting, on December 30 2018, with definitive results not issued until January 9, 2019.
The new president will then take office on January 12, 2019, CENI said.
That calendar is based on a “rationalisation of the electoral system so as to reduce the costs,” said CENI chief Corneille Nangaa.
Tensions have been running high in the DR Congo since Kabila failed to step down on the expiry of his second and final term last December.
The electoral commission had previously said that there would be no vote before early 2019, mainly because of the problems of completing an electoral roll in the troubled central region of Kasai.
Uncertainty has bred fear of a new eruption of political violence in a vast, poor country already battling with ethnic divisions and violence in its east.
Demonstrations have been banned or widely repressed since September 2016.