Kabila Named Winner of DRC Election

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 11:55 am (UTC-5)
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Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has been declared the winner of last week's election, giving him a new five-year term.

VOA's West Africa correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Kinshasa that official results, released Friday, showed Mr. Kabila leading all candidates with 48.9 percent of the vote.

Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was second with 32 percent. Mr. Kabila wins based on a new winner-take-all system implemented this year.

The results were announced by the president of Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission. Stearns reports that afterward, the mood in a pro-Tshisekedi Kinshasa neighborhood was “subdued,” while supporters of President Kabila celebrated.

Ahead of the final results, opposition parties accused officials of rigging the vote, and warned of mass protests and possible violence.

Tshisekedi's party secretary general told reporters Thursday that preliminary figures, which were close to the final numbers, do not reflect the vote of the people.

Troops are on standby in case of unrest, and the United Nations, United States, European Union and African Union have urged calm.

Congo's electoral commission released the results three days later than originally planned, citing logistical problems.

Stearns reports that the electoral commission is releasing a breakdown of election results that include tallies from each polling station, in an effort to head off accusations of fraud.

The electoral commission put overall voter turnout at 58 percent.

Last week's presidential and legislative polls were only the second free elections since the African nation was torn apart by several years of warfare that ended in 2003.

Voting was supposed to last for one day but stretched into three because of ballot shortages in some areas and scattered incidents of violence.

Human Rights Watch said 18 people were killed in violence leading up to the polls. Three candidates have called for the election to be annulled.