A surprise win has rocked the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), after opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi won the election race with 7 million votes.
Tshisekedi is set to take over from President Joseph Kabila, who has been in control of the oil-rich nation for the past 18 years.
It is alleged that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, widely seen as a puppet and successor to Kabila, was meant to hold the fort until 2023, when Kabila may run again. Kabila served two terms and refused to step down after his mandated second term. According to the official election results, Shadary came third.
Tshisekedi is the leader of the DRC’s main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress.
There has been resistance to the election outcome by Martin Fayulu, another opposition candidate and the runner-up in the elections, who is said to have been leading the polls prior to the announcement.
The Associated Press reports that, according to diplomats, the elections results did not add up. The US-based not-for-profit news agency said the figures, compiled by the Catholic Church, which deployed teams to tally the votes, indicated that the winner was Fayulu.
The results, which were meant to released on Sunday, were delayed after more than half the votes remained uncounted. According to the DRC National Independent Electoral Commission, Fayulu received 6.4 million votes. During a briefing last week, the church said the winning candidate was known and had called on the electoral commission to publish the correct results with complete transparency.
In an interview with Radio France Internationale, Fayulu dismissed the results, saying “the results have nothing to do with the truth of the ballot box”.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for clarity in the voting system.
“We must have clarity on these results, which are the opposite to what we expected,” Le Drian told French news channel CNews.
“The Catholic Church in DRC did its tally and announced completely different results,”added Le Drian.
Fayulu has denounced the election results, referring to the outcome as an “electoral coup”.
The elections were marred by controversy, after more than a million citizens were excluded from the December 30 vote owing to an Ebola outbreak. Last Friday, the Catholic Church warned of an uprising if the electoral commission published untrue results.
- Additional reporting AP, News24