Lawmakers in Congo have approved a new version of the country's electoral law after scrapping a provision that opposition leaders said was intended to prolong the president's time in power.

Both the Senate and the National Assembly passed the law on Sunday. It now heads to President Joseph Kabila's desk.

The law originally featured a requirement that a census be carried out before next year's presidential election, which critics said could have delayed the vote. Kabila has been president since 2001 and under current law is barred from seeking another term.

Human rights groups say dozens of people died during protests against the census requirement and that hundreds of activists and opposition supporters were arrested.

National Assembly President Aubin Minaku announced late Saturday that the census requirement would be removed.