Presidents of Zambia and South Africa hold talks over DRC

10 January, 2019, 16:45 | Author: Carlos George
  • Delaying of DRC election results announcement increases likelihood of extension of president's mandate to March

Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the surprise victor of last month's presidential election. "I pay tribute to President Joseph Kabila", Tshisekedi told his supporters outside the headquarters of his Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party in Kinshasa.

Pre-election polling by New York University's Congo Research Group recorded Shadary trailing the opposition by a large margin - with Tshisekedi topping a survey in October and Fayulu commanding a strong lead two days before the vote.

Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu in an interview with The Associated Press late Tuesday warned Congo's electoral commission to "not play with fire, it is very dangerous" and release the true results as quickly as possible.

A CENI source and a diplomat said they expected results to be announced later on Wednesday.

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.

Felix Tshisekedi: The man trying to outdo his father - son of late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, he has promised to make the fight against poverty his priority.

The UDPS also warned that the commission could be delaying the announcement of the December 30 election results in a bid to manipulate the outcome.

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Kabila, 47, has ruled since the 2001 assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who overthrew long-serving dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997. This is an ugly swindle of [DRC's Electoral Commission President] Mr. Nangaa and his political camp.

After deploying tens of thousands of its own election observers, the powerful Catholic Church last week said it knew the outcome of the ballot and called on the authorities to reveal the result "in keeping with truth and justice".

Polls put Fayulu on 44%, at least 20 points ahead of Tshisekedi. And in a last-minute decision, some 1 million of the country's 40 million voters were barred from participating, with the electoral commission blaming a deadly Ebola virus outbreak. As the electoral commission met this week, anti-riot police moved into place outside.

"Mr. Kabila is a Congolese citizen". "Only Martin Fayulu or Felix Tshisekedi's names can be accepted".

The win confounds expectations that outgoing President Joseph Kabila's protege, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would become leader of the world's biggest cobalt producer.

"The CENI plans to devote 24 to 48 hours to this task, after which time the CENI will schedule the announcement of the provisional results", he said.

Some Congolese have said Tshisekedi lost support by splitting the opposition.

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