DR Congo legislature approves new constitution

[JURIST] Officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [BBC country profile; US State Department background note] announced Saturday that the country's legislature has adopted a new constitution to replace the transitional document agreed to in South Africa in 2002 to end the DRC's brutal five-year civil war, said to have killed some 3 million people. The new national charter, which now must be approved within six months in a referendum, recognizes citizenship of members of all ethnic groups present in the country at its 1960 independence from Belgium (including Tutsis, who were brought in by the Belgians in the 19th century), and lowers the required age for President from 35 to 30, allowing 33-year old current President Josepk Kabila [BBC profile] to run in anticipated 2006 elections. BBC News has more; South Africa's Mail & Guardian has additional coverage.

 

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