Congo ex-VP, acquitted of war crimes, registers as candidate

August 2, 2018

Congo's former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba disembarks a private jet upon his arrival at the airport in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Wednesday, Aug 1, 2018. Bemba returned to the country on Wednesday to register as a presidential candidate in December's long-delayed election, more than a decade after his arrest in Belgium led to a trial at the International Criminal Court over war crimes. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba has submitted his candidacy for the December presidential election, a day after returning to the country following more than a decade away.

Bemba registered in the presence of members of his opposition Movement for the Liberation of Congo party, saying he was responding to the aspirations of Congolese.

Bemba in June was acquitted of war crimes by appeals judges at the International Criminal Court.

His arrival shakes up the political landscape in one of Africa’s most turbulent nations. The opposition worries that President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate ended in late 2016, will find a way to hold onto power. Kabila has been in office since 2001.

Elections have been delayed since late 2016, to the growing impatience of the international community.

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