[JURIST] The Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] officially adopted a new constitution [text in French; AP summary] on Saturday when President Joseph Kabila signed into law the charter that voters approved [JURIST report] in a referendum [JURIST report] late last year. The Constitution is designed to bring peace to the country after five years of war, and provides for national elections to be held by June 30. It also provides for a decentralized political system with provincial administrations responsible for local decisions and the control of 40 percent of public funds. Kabila said:
Democratic Republic of Congo has crossed a determining phase towards the normalisation and the resolution of the eternal problem of the legitimacy of governors. From this moment on, nothing will delay the organisation of elections.
The new constitution takes immediate effect, but there is widespread speculation that the elections will not occur by the June 30 deadline because of parliamentary delays and logistical problems surrounding the first national democratic elections in 40 years. Reuters has more