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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was on Thursday named the provisional winner of a long-awaited presidential poll paving the way for the crisis-hit country’s first transfer of power in 18 years, report agencies.
Repeated delays in holding the election sparked deadly violence in the vast and poor nation, but Tshisekedi struck a conciliatory tone after his victory, urging the public to view long-term leader Joseph Kabila as a “partner of democratic change”.
Runner-up candidate Martin Fayulu denounced the interim results as an “electoral coup”.
“These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Fayulu told Radio France International.
Mineral-rich DRC has been in the grip of a two-year crisis over the succession of Kabila, who announced last year he would finally step down after nearly two decades in power. Burdened by a history of bloodshed, DRC has never had a peaceful handover of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. “Having gained … 38.57 per cent of the vote, Felix Tshisekedi is provisionally declared the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI).
Shouts of joy erupted at the commission’s offices as the results were announced early on Thursday morning, AFP journalists reported.