Kabila Named Winner of DRC Election; Tshisekedi Rejects Results

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has rejected poll results giving victory to President Joseph Kabila, and has proclaimed himself the country's president.

In an interview Friday with VOA , Mr. Tshisekedi said he considers the results released by Congo's electoral commission to be a “provocation.”

He said that he sees himself “from this day on, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.” The 78-year-old Tshisekedi had proclaimed himself president ahead of the poll as well.

Earlier Friday, the electoral commission declared Mr. Kabila the winner of last week's poll. The results, which still must be approved by Congo's Supreme Court, showed Mr. Kabila beating Mr. Tshisekedi 49 to 32 percent.

There is no run-off vote, under a new winner-take-all system enacted this year.

After the results were announced, VOA correspondent Scott Stearns reported seeing burning tires in a pro-Tshisekedi Kinshasa neighborhood, though there did not appear to be widespread unrest.

Mr. Tshisekedi told VOA he has asked everyone to remain calm until he issues further instructions.

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

Tshisekedi's party said 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.