Felix Tshisekedi is president-elect of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) according to that country’s National Electoral Commission (CENI).
CENI president, Corneille Nangaa, announced the results of the December 30 presidential ballot in the early hours of Thursday. According to CENI, Tshisekedi received 38.5 percent of the votet and is, therefore, the provisionally president-elect
While supporters of Tshisekedi, the son of a long-time opposition figure who died in 2017 celebrated the outcome, a rival opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, declared runner-up by the CENI, challenged the results.
Fayulu called it an “electoral coup”, adding that the results have nothing to do with the truth. For Fayulu, the people of DR Congo will never accept such an electoral coup.
The powerful Catholic Church said the results announced by the CENI did not match the data gathered by the 40,000 election monitors the deplored across the country.
In a statement, the Catholic Church urged all parties to refrain from violence.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called Thursday on parties to the ballot to refrain from violence.
Shadary, the third-placed finisher also Kabilia’s hand-picked candidate and flag bearer for the ruling party has been silent – neither conceding defeat nor challenging the outcome.
However, a spokesperson for Shadary conceded defeat on behalf of the candidate, stating that “the Congolese people have chosen and democracy has triumphed”.
Kabila was in power for 18 years.
Should Tshisekedi go on to be inaugurated president, it would be the first time since DR Congo (then named Zaire) has had a peaceful and democratic transfer of power since the Central African sleeping giant gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
The capital, Kinshasa, and other major cities across the country were calm on Thursday as news of the election outcome sank in.
Fears of post-election violence remain.
President Donald Trump of the United States has had US Special Forces deployed in next-door Gabon, waiting to intervene and provide security for American citizens should the situation degenerate into violence.
On Thursday, former colonial power, Belgium, expressed doubts about the results.
France’s foreign minister Yves Le Drian said the French would like to “have clarity” on the results, describing the results published by CENI as “the opposite of what we expected.”
On French television station France24, commentators appeared to uphold the claim that the outcome was the product of electoral coup.
Tshisekedi’s victory speech was graceful to Kabila, paying him tribute and urging his supporters to “no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, as a partner in democratic change in our country”.
Tshisekedi said he will be “the president of all DR Congolese”.