Main opposition candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo are looking to unite behind a candidate for the December 23 presidential polls meant to choose a successor for outgoing Joseph Kabila. “All opposition heads will gather in Switzerland to attend a meeting to designate a joint candidate,” one of the challengers, Freddy Matungulu, told AFP news agency.
Observers and analysts say the most likely candidate will be Felix Tshisekedi – son of the veteran opposition chief who died in early February 2017 in Brussels. Felix who leads the The Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UPDS, has emerged as a leading candidate following the legal exclusion frontrunners Jean Pierre Bemba, a former vice president and Moise Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province. Kabila is barred from contesting as per the two-term constitutional term limit.After a period of quiet on his political move, it was confirmed in August that he was not going to amend the laws to become a candidate.
The ruling People’s Party For Reconstruction and Democracy, PPRD, picked Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister and Kabila loyalist as its candidate. Ramazani, who is the subject of European Union, EU, sanctions due to his role in protest crackdown in the past will face 20 other candidates in the race to succeed Kabila. Depending on how many candidates enter the coalition after the talks in Geneva, the number is expected to reduce.