Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi wins DR Congo election

Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi wins DR Congo election

Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi wins DR Congo election

"Of course we are not happy as our candidate lost, but the Congolese people have chosen and democracy has triumphed", Kikaya told Reuters shortly after opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the victor.

He will take office from President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the resource-rich central African country since 2001.

Among the challenges he would face is an Ebola outbreak in the east of the country.

DRC's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) on Thursday declared Felix Tshisekedi the victor of the presidential elections with 38.57% of the vote, just ahead of rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu who took 34.8%, according to AP.

But Mr. Fayulu has claimed the outcome is a fraud and an "electoral coup" and he appears to have the backing of France, a key regional player. Speaking to the press shortly after the results were announced, Fayulu called on the Congolese people to "rise as one man to protect victory".

The constitutional court has 14 days to validate them.

Activist groups on Wednesday urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if results didn't match "the truth of the ballot boxes".

Tshisekedi, who received more than 7 million votes, or 38 per cent, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested.

"There's no spirit of revenge", said Felix Tshisekedi, the candidate of the longtime opposition UDPS party.

Fayulu, a former Exxon manager and Kinshasa lawmaker, received 34 percent of the vote in the official results.

The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates his congratulations to the people, political actors, civil society and the relevant national institutions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the conduct of the elections under conditions deemed satisfactory by the African Union Election Observation Mission led by President Dioncounda Traoré.

The outright annulment of the 30 December election remains less likely, despite Kabila's chosen successor candidate (Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary) having probably lost heavily in the presidential vote, due to the mass anti-government protests this would likely spark. "Mr Tshisekedi knows himself that he did not win". "Tshisekedi, with his weaker network, looks like being the junior partner in his accommodation with the Kabila establishment".

"One day we will even have to think of paying tribute to him (Kabila) for agreeing to withdraw", Tshisekedi said in an interview.

But in the run-up to the results, Tshisekedi said Kabila had nothing to fear should he come to power, comments analysts interpreted as efforts to reassure the president and his supporters that interests accumulated over two decades in power were not at risk. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said his country planned to raise concerns at the U.N. Security Council.

Anti-riot police with water cannon and armored vehicles are outside Congo's electoral commission ahead of the announcement of the first results of the presidential election.

The largely peaceful election faced numerous problems as many voting machines that Congo used for the first time malfunctioned. Dozens of polling centers opened hours late as materials went missing.

Corruption fighter Mr Fayulu finished second in the vote.

He was barred from running for another term under the constitution, and was supposed to step down two years ago, but the election was postponed after the electoral commission said it needed more time to register voters.

Congo's government cut internet service the day after the vote to prevent speculation on social media.

"We urge all stakeholders to remain calm as the process continues", State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Fayulu said the Congolese people were being cheated and called on people to push for his victory.

Some said they would be happy as long as Fayulu or Tshisekedi won, while recalling the violence that followed past disputed elections.

Mineral-rich DRC has been in the grip of a two-year crisis over the succession of Kabila, who announced last year he would finally step down after almost two decades in power.

A two-year wait for a new leader is coming to an end in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but already a post-election crisis is brewing.

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