Opposition leader wins Congo vote as opponent cries foul

Kinshasa: Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was on Thursday declared the winner of the troubled country’s presidential election, but another opposition candidate cried foul and vowed to challenge the results.
“These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Martin Fayulu said after the electoral commission announced Tshisekedi had won with 7 million votes to Fayulu’s 6.3 million.
Fayulu spoke of “invented” numbers and accused the commission of fraud. “The Congolese people have been robbed of their victory, something that the people would never accept,” he said.
The country’s influential Catholic Church has also said the electoral commission’s results don’t match those tallied by their own monitors.
“The results of the presidential election published by (the electoral commission) do not match those collected by our observer mission,” the church said in a statement.
While they have not named Fayulu as winner, diplomatic sources say that is what the church’s figures show.
Tshisekedi’s win came as a surprise to many who thought the results would be rigged in favour of ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. In fact Shadary, who was long-serving President Joseph Kabila’s preferred successor, received the lowest number of votes of the three candidates.
If the losing candidates concede defeat, this would pave the way for the first democratic transition in some 60 years. The UN Secretary General issued a cautious statement after the results were announced, urging calm in the country prone to political violence.
“The secretary general calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms,” the statement said in part.
Response from the European Union was equally muted.
The EU “noted that these results have been contested by a part of the opposition. We are also waiting for the reactions of different observation missions,” said EU foreign policy spokeswoman MajaKocijancic. — dpa