DR Congo election results: Tshisekedi’s victory amidst controversy

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President, Felix Tshisekedi, has emerged victorious in the recent presidential elections, securing over 70% of the vote, as reported by the country’s election commission.

Felix Tshisekedi, president of DR Congo
Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of State

The preliminary results of DR Congo elections, disclosed in Kinshasa, stirred controversy amidst calls from the opposition and civil society groups for a potential redo due to substantial logistical challenges that cast doubt on the credibility of the outcome.

Tshisekedi’s resounding win positioned him far ahead of his competitors. Businessman Moise Katumbi trailed with 18% of the vote, while Martin Fayulu garnered 5%. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege, known for his dedicated efforts in aiding women who have suffered sexual violence in eastern Congo, received less than 1% of the votes cast.

With a voter turnout exceeding 40%, approximately 18 million citizens participated in this crucial election. The preliminary results are now slated to undergo a confirmation process by the constitutional court, as stated by election chief Denis Kadima.

The process allows opposition candidates two days to contest the outcomes, following which the constitutional court has seven days to deliberate. The final results are anticipated to be announced on January 10, with the presidential inauguration set to take place by the month’s conclusion.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a turbulent history marked by contentious elections that often escalate into violence. Consequently, there exists widespread skepticism among Congolese citizens regarding the integrity of the country’s electoral institutions.

Before the formal announcement of the results on Sunday, opposition candidates, particularly Katumbi, vehemently contested the preliminary outcomes and called for public mobilization. However, claims for new elections were rejected.

The electoral process in DR Congo was marred by significant logistical hurdles. Numerous polling stations experienced delayed openings or failed to open altogether. Furthermore, shortages of essential materials and issues concerning the legibility of voter cards due to smudged ink were reported.

The voting period was extended into a second day, a move criticized by local observers and civil society organizations as potentially unlawful. Compounding the logistical challenges, certain regions within the country were still casting their ballots five days after the official election day.

Martin Fayulu, opposition candidate, expressing his dissatisfaction with the electoral process, denounced it as a “farce” during a news conference held in the capital of DR Congo before the results were disclosed on Sunday.

His discontent was echoed earlier in the week when clashes erupted between his supporters and law enforcement officers, escalating tensions during a volatile period in the nation’s political landscape.

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