A spokesman for Congo's government says the president has signed legislation that allows elections to go ahead as planned.

Lambert Mende said Wednesday that President Joseph Kabila has signed legislation that means local elections can be held on Oct. 25, which can allow for national elections in November 2016.

The new U.S. special envoy to the region, Thomas Perriello, urged respect for the constitution and electoral calendar. Speaking Wednesday after meeting with Kabila, he said many partners must be involved to ensure "a truly free and transparent elections cycle."

Kabila, in power since 2001, called for dialogue in June. The largest opposition parties refused to participate without international mediation amid worries it would lead to election delays that would keep Kabila in power beyond constitutional limits.