Felix Tshisekedi DRC

DRC Election: Felix Tshisekedi Declared Winner In Contentious Result

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s electoral commission has declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the 30 December presidential election. Pre-election polls had given opposition frontrunner Martin Fayulu, a respected former business executive, a healthy lead.

Riot police were earlier deployed to protect election officials in the DRC as it braced for the announcement of the results of the presidential vote held 11 days ago. Security forces took up positions outside the offices of the DRC’s election commission and elsewhere in the capital, Kinshasa, amid fears that violence would mar the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence.

Fayulu’s supporters believe outgoing President Joseph Kabila plotted to rig the vote in favour of his hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, or do a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi, head of the DRC’s main opposition party. Vote tallies compiled by the DRC’s Catholic church found Fayulu clearly won the election, two diplomats told Reuters, raising the spectre of a standoff that many fear could lead to violence.

Lambert Mende, the communications minister, fuelled fears of disorder by telling reporters on Wednesday that there was “a time to oppose each other and fight an election but also [a time] to unite” when asked about a possible government pact with Tshisekedi.

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