KINSHASA (Reuters) - The election commission of Democratic Republic of Congo has excluded opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and two former prime ministers from the list of approved candidates for December's presidential election, which was published on Friday.

Bemba, a former warlord who earlier in August returned to the Congolese capital Kinshasa to submit his candidacy for president after a decade in prison in The Hague for war crimes, had been seen as one of the frontrunners in the race to succeed incumbent Joseph Kabila.

The commission's decision can be appealed before the final list of candidates is published in September.

(Reporting by Amedee Mwarabu; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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