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Congo election officials certify approval of new constitution

[JURIST] Electoral results [press release] released by the Independent Electoral Commission [official website] in the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] Wednesday certify the landslide approval [JURIST report] of the new Congolese constitution [draft text, in French; AP summary]. In December, 84 percent of the approximately 15 million voters who cast their ballots [JURIST report] voted to grant greater autonomy to mineral-rich provinces, lower the minimum age to become president from 35 to 30, and paved the way for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March. The constitution, which was written by a transitional government, also aims to increase female participation in government and decentralize authority. Critics say the presidential age provision was included to allow 34-year old Joseph Kabila [BBC profile], who has ruled the country since his father's assassination in 2001, to run for office. AP has more.

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