DRC: opponent Tshisekedi proclaimed winner, immediate challenges

An opponent, Felix Tshisekedi, was proclaimed Wednesday winner of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo but his victory was immediately challenged by some of the opposition and questioned by France.

After a long wait, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declared Mr. Tshisekedi winner with 38.57% of the vote, in front of the other head of the divided opposition, Martin Fayulu (34.8%) . He immediately rejected the result and denounced an "electoral coup".

France seemed to prove him right by the voice of his Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. "It seems that the results proclaimed (...) are not consistent with the results" real, he said on CNews, adding that Mr. Fayulu is "a priori" the winner of the poll December 30.

This one-round presidential election has been postponed three times since 2016.

In recent days, the opposition and observers of the Catholic Church had called on the electoral commission not to betray "the truth of the polls", without being more explicit.

According to official results, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, 55, is the "temporarily elected" president who is to succeed outgoing head of state Joseph Kabila, 47 years old.

- Tribute to Kabila -

In his first speech, Mr. Tshisekedi paid tribute to Joseph Kabila: "Today, we must not see him as an adversary but rather as a partner of democratic alternation in our country."

"I'm happy for you, Congolese people, this process everyone thought was going to lead to clashes and violence, bloodshed," Tshisekedi said.

The results of the CENI can still be appealed to the Constitutional Court which will proclaim the final results.

The DRC, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing a double historical situation. This is the first time an opponent has been proclaimed the winner of a presidential election after Kabila's two elections in 2006 and 2011.

It was also the first time that the outgoing president agreed to withdraw under the pressure of the Constitution and not weapons. Mr. Kabila could not run for a third term in a row.

- "Incomprehensible" -

The dolphin of the outgoing power, the former Minister of the Interior under sanctions of the European Union Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, arrives only in third position with 23.8%. The other 18 candidates make anecdotal scores.

Mr. Fayulu, in an interview with Radio France Internationale, assured that "these results have nothing to do with the truth of the polls". "It's a real electoral coup, it's incomprehensible," he said.

The Constitutional Court is expected to publish the final results by Jan. 15, according to the current electoral calendar, which took three days late. The swearing in of the new president elected for a five-year term is scheduled for January 18.

Felix Tshisekedi is the son of a major figure in Congolese political history, Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Brussels on 1 February 2017.

Nearly two years after the death of Tshisekedi's father, the body still rests in Brussels, officially for lack of agreement for funeral between his UDPS party, family and power.

In recent days, Mr. Tshisekedi had reached out to President Kabila.

- "Peaceful passage" -

UDPS Secretary General Jean-Marc Kabund suggested "a meeting" between MM. Tshisekedi and Kabila "to prepare the peaceful and civilized transfer of power", even before the proclamation of the results.

"We will not reject the extended hand because there is a time for everything, a time to oppose and fight the electorate but also a time to unite," the spokesman said. government on the Okapi UN radio.

These statements fueled rumors of a rapprochement that were not belied and angered Martin Fayulu's camp.

In veiled words, his supporters have warned against an agreement behind their backs. "Kabila does not have to say: I want such a person, I do not want such, it's not his private residence, nor a family affair, it's a state affair," he said. AFP spokeswoman for the Lamuka coalition formed around Mr Fayulu, Eve Bazaiba.

In 2011, the re-election of President Kabila was tainted with contestation and violence.

If confirmed, the new president will have to have a majority in the National Assembly to govern. The legislative and provincial elections had the same day as the presidential election.

The new opposition president will also have to deal with the security forces acquired from President Kabila and the business community.

Two years late, President Kabila had agreed to withdraw. He has been in power since the assassination of his father and predecessor on January 16, 2001.

It remains in office "until the effective installation of the new elected president", according to the Constitution.

Source: Seychelles News Agency