By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK | 1 January 2024 (IDN) — Preliminary election results announced in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa have sparked demands by members of the opposition for a rerun.
According to the country’s election commission, Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi handily won reelection with more than 70% of the vote, crushing the runner-ups by a wide majority.
Some 18 million people or 40% of the population voted. Massive logistical problems put the validity of the outcome into question.
About two-thirds of polling stations opened late, while 30% of voting machines did not work on the first day of the vote, according to an observer group.
Millions of people waited for hours before they were able to vote, while some gave up and went home.
The results will be sent to the constitutional court for confirmation, said election chief Denis Kadima. He acknowledged some irregularities but insisted that the results reflected the will of the Congolese people.
On Sunday, nine opposition candidates, including Denis Mukwege, Martin Fayulu and Moises Katumbi signed a declaration rejecting what they termed a “sham” election and called for a rerun.
“We call on our people to take to the streets en masse after the proclamation of the electoral fraud,” they said in a joint statement.
“We categorically reject the sham election … and its results.”
The army has been deployed in various parts of the capital, Kinshasa, to prevent any unrest, while Mr Tshisekedi’s supporters have taken to the streets to celebrate.
The head of the election commission said the opposition candidates wanted a new election because “they know they lost… they are bad losers”.
Meanwhile, Mr Tshisekedi repeatedly lashed out at Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who he accuses of backing the M23 rebel group which has seized territory in the east of the country. Rwanda has repeatedly denied the charges.
In his last election rally, Mr Tshisekedi vowed to declare war on Rwanda, although observers dismissed this as rhetoric aimed at whipping up nationalist sentiment. [IDN-InDepthNews]
Photo: President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo. Source: Global Information Network
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