The president of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament Gianni Pittella has criticised Joseph Kabila’s decision to postpone the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The attempt of Joseph Kabila to remain in power beyond his term is unacceptable and is a danger to both the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to the Great Lakes region as a whole, which will suffer a new wave of instability,” he said. “We strongly believe that respect of democracy, peace and peaceful transfer of power must now be the only priority for all political forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately Kabila is showing time and time again his desire to go the opposite way.”

In turn, S&D MEP Cécile Kyenge said: “Unless there is any last minute surprise, everything points to the likelihood that this will actually happen and Kabila is increasing his resolve to keep his hands on the Congolese presidency illegally.”

“The European Union cannot continue to support a country which does not comply with its constitutional responsibilities, from the Head of State to the municipal level,” added Kyenge. “If Joseph Kabila continues on his current path and establishes an illegal and illegitimate regime the EU must act.”