Congo's prime minister resigns after lawmakers vote him out

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KINSHASA, Congo — Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba submitted his letter of resignation Friday to Congo’s president, two days after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly for his ouster.

After 15 months heading the coalition government, he thanked President Felix Tshisekedi as well as the former head of state Joseph Kabila, now a senator, who helped put him in the post.

The National Assembly on Wednesday voted with 367 out of 377 votes to remove Ilunkamba, citing incompetence.

The move paves the way for Tshisekedi to appoint someone more loyal as he distances himself from a coalition formed with his predecessor, Kabila, the strongman who governed the impoverished Central African nation for 18 years.

Tshisekedi won the 2019 election despite widespread allegations of large-scale fraud by Kabila to keep his party in power. Tshisekedi became president, but Kabila’s party retained initial control of the legislature. Tshisekedi dissolved the coalition late last year and has mustered enough support to sideline Kabila’s party.

Ilunkamba and other Kabila allies boycotted Wednesday’s vote, saying in a letter to parliament that the decision was an “unfounded political manoeuvr ” and unconstitutional.

Jean-Yves Kamale, The Associated Press