Felix Tshisekedi wins DRC presidential poll

Felix Tshisekedi wins DRC presidential poll
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NAMPA-Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has been declared the winner of the long-delayed, disorganised 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.
Tshisekedi, who received more than seven million votes, or 38% according to the electoral commission's results, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested. The son of late opposition leader Etienne, who pursued Congo's presidency for many years, he startled Congolese shortly before the election by breaking away from an opposition effort to unite behind a single candidate.
Tshisekedi's victory was quickly contested by opposition leader Martin Fayulu, who charged the results were rigged.
Fayulu denounced the results as an "electoral hold up" that were "rigged, fabricated and invented" and do "not reflect the truth of the ballots." Speaking to the press shortly after the results were announced, Fayulu called on the Congolese people to "rise as one man to protect victory."
Fayulu, who vowed in his campaign to clean up Congo's widespread corruption, received more than six million votes, or 34%, of the electoral commission's results. He claims that he won a majority of the votes and that he was deprived of victory because a deal was made with Tshisekedi.
"How long are we going to negotiate results?" said Fayulu. "In 2006, Jean-Pierre Bemba's victory was stolen, in 2011 Etienne Tshisekedi's victory was stolen. In 2018 victory won't be stolen from Martin Fayulu."
Fayulu urged the Catholic Church to release the results from its team of 40 000 observers who recorded voting tallies posted at each of the polling centres. Last week, the Catholic Church said their observations showed a clear winner, and many say that was Fayulu.
Several diplomats briefed on the matter told The Associated Press (AP) that the figures compiled by the Catholic Church showed that Fayulu won an absolute majority of the votes. Two diplomats also said that all major observation missions, including from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), showed similar results with Fayulu the winner. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Some observers suggested that President Joseph Kabila's government made a deal with Tshisekedi to declare him the winner, as hopes faded for ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who received just 23% of the official results.
The constitutional court has 14 days to validate them.
-Nampa-AP