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DR Congo Opposition Leader Felix Tshisekedi Wins Election

Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Congolese main opposition party, in Kinshasa, DR Congo, Dec. 30, 2018. | Photo: Reuters Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Congolese main opposition party, in Kinshasa, DR Congo, Dec. 30, 2018. | Photo: Reuters
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the Dec. 30 presidential elections - with more than 38% of the votes, according to the provisional results that were announced Wednesday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Candidate Martin Fayulu stood in second place with almost 35%, followed by Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary - the official candidate choice of President Joseph Kabila - with close to 24%.

The participation rate stood at 47.56% in an election in which more than 18 million Congolese voted.

Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Progress and Social Development (UPDS), received the news of his triumph in Limete, a district of Kinshasa where thousands of his followers were reportedly unable to vote until two hours before the closing of the polls, due to the lack of electoral lists.

The 55-year-old election winner - who is the son of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi - broke away in mid-November from the common opposition bloc Lamuka ("Awake"), which is led by Fayulu, to lead his own coalition.

The provisional numbers should have been published on Jan. 6, according to the electoral calendar, but the disclosure of the result was postponed when CENI confirmed that it had not completed the review. Several local observation missions, including the National Episcopal Conference, urged the CENI to publish "the true results."

Tshisekedi's victory culminates two years of delays and uncertainty, since President Joseph Kabila - in power for almost 18 years - finalized his second term in Dec. 2016.

A new postponement occurred at the end of Dec., with a date change from the 23rd to the 30th. A few days later, CENI annulled the elections until March 2019 in the districts of Beni, Butembo, and Yumbi due to Ebola and ethnic violence.

Congo's presidential candidates and their parties will have three days to appeal the results before the Constitutional Court, which, in turn, will have another week to proclaim the official results.

  • Countries: Africa

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