File: Congolese President Joseph Kabila.
KINSHASA - The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold a presidential poll in November next year, but under certain conditions, the election commission said Thursday, announcing the long-awaited voting calendar.
The issue of the next presidential election lies at the heart of political tensions in the country, with deadly protests erupting in January over opposition fears that the incumbent Joseph Kabila was trying to extend his stay in power.
The vote will take place on November 27, 2016, at the same time as legislative elections, Independent National Electoral Commission official Jean-Pierre Kalamba said.
Kalamba added, however, that the election depended on certain conditions, including the availability of funds to organise the polls, the updating of the electoral roll and issues surrounding parliamentary seat allocation.
Speaking anonymously, one minister swiftly cast doubt on the electoral programme, saying that the $1.1 billion sought by the electoral commission for the elections was "not tenable," even with international aid.
Constitutionally, Kabila cannot stand in these elections after having served two terms in office.
In power since 2001, Kabila on Thursday enacted a new electoral law, adopted by parliament last month, dropping a contentious provision that would have extended his stay in power.
The disputed clause had made any presidential poll in the troubled central African country contingent on a new voters&39; roll being drawn up after a census -- a process that had been expected to take years.
This would have allowed Kabila to stay on as president beyond December 2016 when his second mandate ends.
Violent anti-government protests erupted in January that left between 27 and 42 people dead, mainly in the capital Kinshasa, before parliament adopted the modified electoral law.