Congo election result risks BITTER CIVIL UPRISING as Felix Tshisekedi controversially wins

10 January, 2019, 12:21 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Delaying of DRC election results announcement increases likelihood of extension of president's mandate to March

Scores of Congolese are dancing and cheering outside the electoral commission in the morning after opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the victor of the presidential election.

Tshisekedi, 55, is the son of the late Etienne Tshisekedi, the face of the DRC's opposition for decades. He backs ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is under European Union sanctions.

On Tuesday, Mr Fayulu said DR Congo's National Electoral Commission (Ceni) must "publish the provisional results of the presidential election in the near future", adding: "The election results are not negotiable".

On Wednesday afternoon, hours before results were announced, some Tshisekedi supporters began to celebrate at his Union for Democracy and Social Progress party headquarters, with calendars already printed saying "Felix Tshisekedi president".

The electoral commission on Sunday announced an indefinite delay in releasing the first results of the vote, frustrating many in this country that is rich in the minerals key to the world's smartphones, laptops and electric cars.

The country's influential Catholic Church signaled last week that it knew who had won, having gathered data and recorded infringements of election rules on polling day. If confirmed, Tshisekedi will be the first opposition challenger to win since the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960, BBC News reports.

The result could still be appealed in the Constitutional Court.

"There's no spirit of revenge", said Tshisekedi.

On November 11, Tshisekedi joined six other opposition leaders to rally behind a single unity candidate, Martin Fayulu, to take on Shadary.

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After several days of intense speculation on the outcome of the DRC's presidential elections, the country's election board, CENI, proclaimed Felix Tshisekedi the victor.

Tshisekedi, in an interview with Belgium's Le Soir newspaper, talked about Kabila's role in the DRC following the announcement of results.

"These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box", Fayulu is said to have told Radio France International.

Attention now turns to Congo's powerful Catholic church, which has said its 40,000 election observers at all polling stations found a "clear winner" but was barred by electoral regulations from saying more.

The opposition was weakened by internal arguments and the exclusion by the electoral commission of two political heavyweights: Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former warlord, and Moïse Katumbi, a popular tycoon.

The announcement came as riot police were deployed in the capital, Kinshasa, amid fears of a disputed result in the December 30 vote marked by accusations of vote fraud.

Congolese riot police take position around the electoral commission building at night in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019.

Already delayed by two years, the announcement of results was postponed by a further week to allow more time to overcome logistical challenges in a country of 80 million inhabitants spread over an area the size of western Europe with nearly no paved roads.

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