The candidate to represent Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s ruling coalition in a presidential election in December will be announced “in the coming hours”, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Lambert Mende’s statement followed a meeting between Kabila and coalition members at his farm outside the capital Kinshasa. Candidates have until Wednesday afternoon to register with the national electoral commission.

Kabila, in power since 2001, is barred by term limits from running for re-election but has refused to commit publicly to not standing. That has raised fears he might do so anyway, which risks throwing the volatile central African country into chaos.

Security forces have killed dozens of protesters since Kabila refused to quit power at the end of mandate in December 2016, saying the government was not yet prepared to hold the election to succeed him. Militia violence in the eastern borderlands with Rwanda and Uganda has also risen.

Western powers and Congo’s neighbours fear even worse violence across the country if Kabila digs in and runs, with memories still fresh of civil wars around the turn of the century that killed millions, mostly from hunger and disease.

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