Congolese living in Britain hold pictures of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi (L) and Joseph Kabila (R) as they protest in the center of London on December 20, 2011 against the re-election of the latter in the DRC.
KINSHASA – Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission announced Wednesday that the vote to replace President Joseph Kabila expected by the end of the year will not happen before the start of 2019.
Kabila officially ended his term in office in December, but he was allowed to stay in exchange for guarantees that elections will be held.
The delay could be reduced "if we accept to use voting machines and if we change the electoral law," a commission spokesman told AFP.
Following a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, French Ambassador Francois Delattre called on Kinshasa to quickly release a full timetable for what he said must be "credible" elections.
"The council expects a speedy publication of the electoral timetable and the implementation of the confidence-building measures. There is a consensus on this very important point," Delattre told reporters.
The Security Council called for elections to be organised this year in the DR Congo, in line with a political agreement reached between the government and opposition groups.
But diplomats privately acknowledged that holding polls in the vast African country in the coming three months would not be possible due to logistical hurdles.
Diplomats said they did not consider the latest statement from the electoral commission as a formal timetable, which they stressed must contain specific dates for the vote.