EU prolongs sanctions against Congo ruling party candidate

Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, left, talks to a member of his delegation prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the European Counc

Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, left, talks to a member of his delegation prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the European Counc

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, left, talks to his Poland counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, left, talks to his Poland counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the

Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders looks at his watch prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the European Council headquarters in

Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders looks at his watch prior a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers at the European Council headquarters in

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has prolonged sanctions against Congolese President Joseph Kabila's chosen successor just two weeks before a historic election in the resource-rich Central African country.

EU headquarters said Monday that travel bans and asset freezes will be renewed for a year against Congo's ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and 13 other people.

Shadary was sanctioned by the EU last year for obstructing Congo's electoral process and a crackdown against protesters angry over the long-delayed vote.

The decision, taken by EU foreign ministers in Brussels, could be reviewed "in the light of and following" the elections, scheduled for Dec. 23.

It could be Congo's first peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The opposition fears that Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, will assert power behind the scenes if Shadary wins.