Critics accuse Joseph Kabila of postponing the vote to maintain his grip on power and stay in office despite his two-year mandate ending on December 2016.

Johannesburg – Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will not be held until December next year, despite opposition leaders pushing for earlier elections, AP reports.

Presidential and legislative elections will take place on 23 December 2018 together with provincial polls DRC election officials announced on Sunday.

However, the opposition recently stated that they would only agree to the vote being delayed until June 2018 on the provision that Kabila steps down at the end of this year and his government replaced by a transitional one.

It remains unclear whether the opposition will now accept the timeframe proposed by the country’s electoral commission and if not how that could impact escalating tensions which have resulted in deadly street demonstrations across the country.

Critics accuse Kabila of postponing the vote to maintain his grip on power and stay in office despite his two-year mandate ending on December 2016.

Although the president can remain in office until the 2018 elections, he is barred by the constitution from seeking another term in office.