(Adds comments from DRC Prime Minister, context)
By Allison Lampert
MONTREAL, June 12 (Reuters) - Congo’s current President Joseph Kabila will not seek a third mandate in the Central African country’s upcoming December elections because of constitutional term limits that prevent him from running again, Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala said on Tuesday.
“The elections are going to take place without the participation of President Kabila who will abide by the spirit and the letter of the constitution,” Tshibala said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Conference of Montreal.
Tshibala’s comments follow signs in the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo that Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent in 2001, is prepared to run for a third elected term.
Tshibala said the elections are still scheduled to take place on Dec. 23.
“These elections will take place at the expected date,” he said.
Tshibala said Kabila would attend an African leaders’ meeting next week in Luanda to convey the message that Congo would respect “our commitments,” in holding the elections. (Reporting by Allison Lampert Editing by Chris Reese)