>> Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba has been excluded from running in the countries upcoming election. The former warlord was barred from December's vote after a decade in prison in the Hague for war crimes.
nba is popular in Western Congo, including the capital Kinshasa, and his exclusion could trigger a violent reaction by his supporters.
Street battles between militiamen loyal to Bemba and state forces broke out after he lost the 2006 election to current president Joseph Kabila. The International Criminal Court has overturned Bemba's convictions for crimes against humanity, for murder, rape and pillage. But his witness tampering conviction still stands. The DRC's election committee that sticking point as the reason for his exclusion.
He was among six candidates deemed ineligible. Their decision can be appealed before the final list is published in September. Opposition parties have criticized the committee for its, quote, determination to suppress the electoral process. Last month, Bemba placed third in a rare public opinion poll on the likely outcome of the election, winning 17% support.
Kabila meanwhile has obeyed the country's two term limit and not put his name forward for December's election. But as a parting shot, he picked a former interior minister who's been placed under EU sanctions to stand instead. That ensures the leader, who's been in power since 2001, will remain closely involved in national politics for the foreseeable future.
And he'll be eligible to run again next time round.