Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila says he will leave office after the 23 December poll, but may seek re-election in the future.
Mr Kabila, 47, said he would remain in politics after the poll as “there is still a long journey ahead”.
He became president of the resource-rich African state in 2001 following the killing of his father Laurent.
His presidential mandate ended in 2016, but he has stayed in office as elections were repeatedly delayed.
Dozens of opposition supporters have been killed in protests demanding that he step down and elections be held.
The election commission finally set 23 December as the election date, saying it had not been possible to hold the poll earlier because of difficulties in registering voters in a country with poor infrastructure and conflict in the mostly lawless eastern region.