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DR Congo foiled coup target Kamerhe elected speaker of lower house

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-23 10:26
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Vital Kamerhe attends a meeting with Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and observers from the Southern African Development Community(SADC) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec 28, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

KINSHASA - Vital Kamerhe, deputy prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was on Wednesday elected president of the National Assembly, the country's lower house of parliament.

Kamerhe, who leads the Union for the Congolese Nation, won 371 of the 407 votes cast. Jean-Claude Tshilumbayi, from the ruling party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), was elected first vice-president, while Christophe Mboso, the outgoing speaker, was elected second vice-president.

According to the Congolese army, Kamerhe was one of the targets of a failed coup attempt in the Central African country on Sunday.

His residence was raided by a group of armed men early Sunday in the coup attempt, which was "nipped in the bud" by defense forces, announced DRC military spokesperson Sylvain Ekenge.

Four attackers were killed, and about 40 others involved in the attack, including several Americans, were arrested, according to the DRC military. The failed coup attempt has been condemned by multiple leaders of African countries and organizations.

Kamerhe, 65, was appointed as deputy prime minister and minister of national economy last year.

Voting for the speaker of the lower house was originally scheduled for May 18 but was postponed last Friday.

In the general elections held in December 2023, President Felix Tshisekedi was re-elected for a second term, as the Sacred Union, a parliamentary coalition composed of Tshisekedi's Union of Democracy and Social Progress party and its allied parties, won the majority of at least 90 percent of seats at the 500-member National Assembly.

However, the lower house had remained paralyzed due to the absence of a leadership bureau, which includes posts such as president, first vice-president and second vice-president.

In the voting on Wednesday, Kamerhe was the sole candidate for president of the National Assembly.

In early April, Tshisekedi named Judith Tuluka Suminwa as the new prime minister. Tuluka was also a target of the failed coup attempt, but the putschists failed to "identify" her residence.

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