Congo prime minister resigns, increasing President Tshisekedi's power

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FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Congo's President Felix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi attend a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba resigned on Friday, the presidency said, a move that will enable President Felix Tshisekedi to rid the government of his predecessor's allies and push through his own policies.

Ilunga, an ally of former President Joseph Kabila, stepped down after parliament passed a no-confidence motion on Wednesday, the latest in a series of political victories for Tshisekedi over Kabila in recent weeks.

Ilunga "has just handed in his resignation," the presidency said on Twitter. "He said he had taken note of the evolution of the current political situation."

Ilunga this week initially called into question the no-confidence vote against him, before accepting its legitimacy on Thursday.

His departure cements Tshisekedi's break from a power-sharing pact that had been forced on him when he came to power two years ago because Kabila's allies still controlled parliament.

The awkward alliance had forced Tshisekedi to bargain with Kabila, who governed from 2001 to 2019, over every policy shift as his government sought to quell violence in the east, reform the judiciary and win financial help from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

(Reporting by Stanis Bujakera; Writing by Aaron Ross and Edward McAllister; Editing by Bate Felix and Timothy Heritage)