Tshisekedi re-elected DRC president in election opposition wanted redone

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DRC President Felix Tshisekedi waves to his supporters after casting his ballot inside a polling station in Kinshasa [File: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP]

Felix Tshisekedi wins a landslide victory to secure a second term in election the opposition has labelled a ‘farce’.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi won re-election with more than 70 percent of the vote, the country’s election commission has announced.

The preliminary results of the December 20 election were announced in the capital, Kinshasa, on Sunday amid demands from the opposition and some civil society groups for the vote to be rerun due to massive logistical problems that put the validity of the outcome into question.

Businessman Moise Katumbi finished behind Tshisekedi with 18 percent of the vote.

Martin Fayulu, a former oil company executive, received 5 percent, while Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, a physician renowned for treating women brutalised by sexual violence in eastern DRC, got less than 1 percent.

The election had over 40 percent turnout, with some 18 million people voting. The results will be sent to the constitutional court for confirmation, election chief Denis Kadima said.

Opposition candidates opposing the results have two days to submit their claims, and the constitutional court has seven days to decide.

The final results are expected on January 10, and the president is scheduled to be sworn in at the end of that month.

Opposition labelled election a ‘farce’

The DRC has a history of disputed elections that can turn violent, and many of its citizens harbour little trust in the country’s institutions.

Before the results were announced Sunday, opposition candidates, including Katumbi, said they rejected the results and called on the population to mobilise.

Katumbi
Leading opposition candidate Moise Katumbi, a millionaire businessman, addresses supporters at a rally in Kinshasa [File: Samy Ntumba Shambuyi/AP]

The logistical problems included many polling stations either opening late or not opening at all. Materials were sometimes lacking, and many voter cards were rendered illegible due to smudged ink.

Voting in the election had to be extended into a second day, something local observers and civil society organisations have deemed illegal, and parts of the country were still casting ballots five days after election day.

“If a foreign country considers these elections to be elections, there’s a problem,” Fayulu said at a news conference in the capital on Sunday before the results were announced.

“It’s a farce, don’t accept [the results].”

Earlier this week, confrontations broke out between supporters of Fayulu and police officers.

Tear gas was deployed as protesters, who were throwing rocks and barricading themselves inside the opposition headquarters, clashed with law enforcement.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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