Election has been fixed for December 23, 2018 and its time to find a replacement for Joseph Kabila who has been president of DR Congo for 17 years.

Following the assassination of his father Laurent, Joseph took over power in 2001, and despite completing his two-term tenure in 2016, he continued as a caretaker president.

On the eve of a key campaign deadline, Kabila has now scheduled talks on Tuesday with allies to discuss hand-picking a candidate to run in upcoming elections.

Members of a pro-Kabila alliance known as the Common Front for Congo (FCC) "have been called to an important meeting this evening at Kingakati," a minister told AFP, referring to the presidential residence on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Another source, close to Kabila, said, "It's not a secret any more -- it's about naming a candidate for our presidential platform."

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Candidates have until late Wednesday to file their bid for the December 23 poll -- a ballot seen as crucial for the future of the notoriously unstable country.

But he has left everyone guessing whether he will seek to run again, perhaps by arguing that this is permissible because of a revision of the constitution in 2006.

The uncertainty has ratcheted up political tensions, leading to anti-Kabila protests that have been bloodily repressed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has never known a peaceful transition of power since it gained independence in 1960.

Kabila, 47, has been at the helm since 2001, taking over from his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, who was assassinated by a bodyguard.

His tenure over the vast mineral-rich country has been marked by a reputation for corruption, inequality and unrest.

Many provinces are in the grip of armed conflict and millions have had to flee their homes, many flocking to Uganda, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia.

After Wednesday's deadline for applications, the definitive list of candidates will be announced on September 19.

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