Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Congo: Opposition Leader Tshisekedi Wins Presidential Vote

Congo: Opposition Leader Tshisekedi Wins Presidential Vote

Shouts of joy erupted at the commission's offices as the results were announced early Thursday morning, AFP journalists reported. His rival, Martin Fayulu, labelled the outcome "an ugly swindle".

Main opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was Thursday named the provisional victor in Kinshasa after a delayed count.

The son of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) veteran opposition leader has won the position that eluded his late father, Etienne, for decades - the African nation's presidency.

The December 30 vote was meant to elect a new president for the DR Congo, and if everything goes as planned, the country will witness its first peaceful transition of power since its independence in 1960. Stability in the vast...

Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congolese main opposition the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, attends a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 23, 2018.

"The results have nothing to do with the truth of the ballot box", he said in an interview with Radio France Internationale, calling on observers to publish the real results.

"Outgoing President Joseph Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission", Robert Besseling, a Johannesburg-based executive director at business risk consultancy Exx Africa, said in an emailed note.

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Riot police were deployed in front of the commission headquarters in the capital Kinshasa and along the city's main boulevard, as Congo braced for possible violence amid accusations of vote fraud and suspicions that the government was negotiating a power-sharing deal with one opposition candidate.

Analysts have warned that any widespread perception the election has been stolen could trigger a cycle of unrest, particularly in the eastern borderlands where Fayulu enjoys some of his strongest support.

The election's supervisors had faced mounting pressure at home and overseas to publish the results after repeated delays stoked fears for the giant country's stability.

In order to do so they must appeal to Congo's constitutional court, which has 10 days to hear and rule on any challenges.

Fayulu took 6.4 million votes and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate of the ruling party, came in third with 4.4 million votes.

"If we find that the results of the catholic church are not the same as those of the electoral commission we will know there was a change of plan", said Stephanie Wolters at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies.

On Tuesday, Fayulu and six other presidential candidates issued a statement saying that "the electoral results can not be negotiated and under no circumstances will we or the Congolese people accept such results".

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