08/25/2019

Congo Opposition Candidate to Challenge Election Results

Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Martin Fayulu said Friday he will challenge the official election result at the country’s constitutional court, as one of his campaign aides claimed his candidate had won in a landslide.

Preliminary results announced early Thursday by Congo’s electoral commission said another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, had come first in the Dec. 30 presidential election with 38.6% of the vote.

The stunning result, the first time in Congo’s history that an opposition candidate has been declared the winner of a presidential vote, sparked allegations, including from Mr. Fayulu, of manipulation.

Mr. Fayulu’s supporters and many analysts said they believe Mr. Tshisekedi had entered a secret power-sharing deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who has been reluctant to give up power after 18 years. Representatives for Messrs. Tshisekedi and Kabila have denied that such a deal exists.

The dispute over the election results risks sparking further violence in a country that has been racked by conflict for the past 25 years. At least 12 people died Thursday in violent protests in the central province of Kwilu, where two police officers were lynched and 10 civilians were shot, said the head of the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Congo, Leila Zerrougui. Ms. Zerrougui said the mission was still investigating other incidents that could have led to more deaths.

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