Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba was constitutionally required to resign after being censured by the National Assembly on Wednesday.

In this file image, Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, speaks during the first day of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, on February 3, 2020.
In this file image, Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, speaks during the first day of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, on February 3, 2020. (AFP)

Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba has resigned, the presidency said, a move enabling President Felix Tshisekedi to appoint his own premier supported by a new parliamentary majority.

Presidency spokesperson Giscard Kusema told reporters on Friday that Illunga said "he had drawn the consequences of the developing political situation."

He is a close ally to former president Joseph Kabila, whose supporters have tussled with Tshisekedi since he took office two years ago.

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Kusema said it was "too soon" to say when Tshisekedi would appoint the next prime minister.

The presidency confirmed Ilunga's departure on Twitter.

Ilunga, 73, had been appointed by Tshisekedi in May 2019 under a power-sharing deal that he and Kabila struck when handing over the presidency – the first peaceful transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo's history.

Kabila's decision to step down after 18 years in office opened the way to elections in December 2018 that were controversially won by Tshisekedi, the son of a veteran opposition leader.

But on the same polling day, a strong pro-Kabila majority emerged in the National Assembly, preventing Tshisekedi from having a grip on all the political levers of power.

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Brawls in parliament

Tshisekedi was forced into a coalition – a leviathan of a government with 65 ministers, two-thirds of whom were from the pro-Kabila Common Front for the Congo (FCC).

Tensions swiftly grew and erupted into the open last October when Tshisekedi appointed three judges to the Constitutional Court, the highest judicial authority in DRC.

As the row escalated, Tshisekedi declared his reform agenda was being blocked and launched three-week national consultations to seek a way out of the impasse.

On December 6, he announced the end to the coalition.

He said he planned to seek a new government supported by the National Assembly, a move that sparked brawls in parliament.

On Wednesday, a motion of censure against Ilunga and his government was approved by 367 out of 377 MPs present in the 500-seat legislature.

Tshisekedi's proposed "Sacred Union of the Nation" wields support from 391 lawmakers, according to an envoy, Senator Modeste Bahati, who was appointed to try to forge a majority.

Ilunga on Wednesday angrily said he did not recognise the authority of the assembly's provisional bureau, which oversees legislative affairs, to organise a censure vote.

In a statement on Thursday, he reiterated that criticism, but said, "I am bound to recognise the competence of the National Assembly to examine the motion of censure" as the motion had been previously signed by 301 MPs.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies