Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight

Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight

Their meeting came amid growing concern that unrest could erupt in DR Congo, following tightly contested presidential elections on 30 December.

In a pre-dawn announcement, the election commission named Tshisekedi, son of the country's late veteran opposition leader, as provisional victor of the bitterly-contested December 30 vote - a surprise result his main opponent promptly denounced as an "electoral coup".

The candidate of Congo's ruling party, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who came third in the official results, has through his spokeswoman congratulated the victor, Felix Tshisekedi.

Congo's ruling party responded angrily, calling the church's announcement "anarchist", and the electoral commission accused the church of "preparing an uprising".

Tshisekedi, meanwhile, whose victory was declared at about 0200 GMT paid his respects to outgoing President Joseph Kabila, and described him as a "partner in democratic change".

Fayulu said the Congolese people were being cheated and called on people to push for his victory.

Attention 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.

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Martin Fayulu, an opposition candidate tipped by pollsters as the likely victor of the December 30 vote, told supporters: "We will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday..."

Two of the diplomats said other observation missions, including one conducted by the African Union and one by the Southern African Development Community, also shows that Fayulu received the most votes, the AP reports.

"It really seems that the declared results... are not consistent with the true results", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told CNews television.

Even as Tshisekedi and his supporters celebrate their victory, Fayulu was arguably the most important candidate in these elections.

Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has been declared victor of the long-delayed, disorganized and controversial presidential election, in an announcement by the electoral commission early Thursday that surprised many, as the vast country braced for possible protests over alleged rigging.

Antoine Tshisekedi, the leader of DRC's main opposition party was declared the victor of the December 30, 2018, presidential elections in the early hours of January 10, 2019.

But in the run-up to the results, Tshisekedi said Kabila had nothing to fear should he come to power, comments analysts interpreted as efforts to reassure the president and his supporters that interests accumulated over two decades in power were not at risk.

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Pierre Englebert of the African Arguments newsletter said analysis of survey data "suggests that the probability Tshisekedi could have scored 38 percent in a free election is less than 0.0000".

South Africa, however, has been under pressure to be more outspoken on Congo amid tensions over the long-delayed vote. Dozens of polling centers opened hours late as materials went missing.

Congo's government cut internet service the day after the vote to prevent speculation on social media. "This is the beginning of national reconciliation".

President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 18 years in office.

Tshisekedi "owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission", and in exchange Kabila would look for immunity from any prosecution or asset seizure after handing over power, Besseling said.

Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu wipes his face before speaking to the press at his headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, Jan. 10, 2019.

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