Opposition leader Tshisekedi wins presidential vote in Congo

Jan 11, 2019, 08:00 IST | Agencies

Tshisekedi, who received more than 7 million votes, or 38 per cent, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested

Opposition leader Tshisekedi wins presidential vote in Congo
The 56-year-old Tshisekedi took over as head of Congo’s most prominent opposition party in early 2018, a year after his father's death

Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the long-delayed presidential election, the electoral commission announced early Thursday, as the vast country braced for possible protests over alleged rigging. Tshisekedi, who received more than 7 million votes, or 38 per cent, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested.

The son of late opposition leader Etienne, who pursued the presidency for many years, he surprised many last year by breaking away from an opposition effort to unite behind a single candidate. Some observers have suggested that President Joseph Kabila's government sought to make a deal as hopes faded for a win for ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who received more than 4 million votes.

It is not immediately clear whether opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who had vowed to clean up Congo's widespread corruption and led in polling, will contest the results.
The constitutional court has 14 days to validate them. Fayulu received more than 6 million votes.

This is Congo's first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960. Kabila has ruled since 2001 in the troubled nation rich in minerals. He is barred from serving three consecutive terms. "This is the coronation of a lifetime," the deputy secretary-general of Tshisekedi's party, Rubens Mikindo, said above the cheers at the party headquarters.

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