Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Tshisekedi reelected for 2nd term

Electoral commission declares that Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has won another 5-year term in office

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has been reelected for a second five-year term, the country’s electoral commission declared Sunday.

Tschisekedi won a presidential election held on Dec. 20-21 with 73.34% of the vote, or more than 13 million ballots out of over 18 million, according to final results announced by National Electoral Commission President Denis Kadema Kazadi.

The country’s president since Jan. 25, 2019, the 60-year-old head of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, competed against 25 other candidates in the election that had a turnout of 43.23% among a total of nearly 44 million potential voters, Kazadi said live on public broadcaster RTCN.

He was followed by businessman Moise Katumbi, who held public office as governor of the southeastern province of Katanga in 2008-2015 and got 18.08%. Third-placed Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege received 0.22%.

Fraud allegations

Opposition reports of election fraud have followed since partial results began coming in the day after the presidential, legislative, provincial, and local elections.

Martin Fayulu, another opposition presidential candidate, was quoted by local media as declaring that he would never accept “this sham of an election and these results,” which he said were the result of “organized, planned fraud.”

Irregularities were also denounced by various stakeholders, as the quadruple ballot scheduled to take place in a single day on Dec. 20 was extended to Dec. 21 in some remote areas with the endorsement of the electoral commission.

On Thursday, the electoral observation mission of the Catholic and Protestant Churches of the Democratic Republic of Congo also publicly questioned the extension’s legality, reporting that voting continued into Wednesday in some areas.

Despite assurances by the government that “chaos has not happened and will not happen,” tensions were a major fear throughout the vote as the country grapples with armed conflict against armed rebels in the east.

A record 44 million voters registered to take part in the elections over a period of four months, with candidates campaigning in a peaceful atmosphere within the constitutional timeframe.

Kazadi reported that some candidates had shown “outrageous incivism” against electoral agents in order to stuff ballot boxes and win.

But he added that the commission “was able to organize peaceful and serene elections,” pointing out that the Internet was not cut off and that day-to-day activities continued the day after voting.

“No activity was disrupted, which is a thermometer for measuring the peaceful nature of this election,” he said.

Tshisekedi is now “provisionally elected” pending ratification of the results by the Constitutional Court.


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