Political parties in Congo have reached a deal that calls for President Joseph Kabila to leave power after the next election. And in a concession to the opposition, that vote now will take place before the end of 2017.
The deal was signed just an hour before midnight local time New Year’s Eve. The president’s party had wanted the vote to be held in mid-2018, and the dispute had provoked violent street demonstrations. Dozens have died during two periods of unrest this year.
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The president and opposition parties failed to reach an agreement before Kabila’s mandate expired Dec. 19. That pushed the negotiations into overdrive before they were then put on hold over Christmas.
Talks brokered by Catholic church officials resumed Thursday under mounting pressure to find a solution.