Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) presidential election, according to provisional results announced by the country’s electoral commission.
“Having gained. .. 38.57 percent of the vote, Felix Tshisekedi is provisionally declared the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Corneille Nangaa, the head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI), said late on Wednesday.
The announcement came hours after riot police deployed at the commission’s headquarters in the capital, Kinshasa, amid fears of violence due to a disputed result.
Election observers reported a number of irregularities during the long-delayed December 30 vote and the opposition alleged it was marred by fraud.
The result could lead to the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.
Losing candidates, who include businessperson Martin Fayulu and ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, can contest the results before the country’s constitutional court, which has 10 days to hear and rule on any challenges.
President Joseph Kabila is due to leave office this month after 18 years in power – and two years after the official end of his mandate. He backed Shadary, his former interior minister, in the election.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from outside the commission’s headquarters, said Tshisekedi’s supporters were taking to the streets to celebrate the result.
“The news came as a surprise,” she said. “A lot of people who didn’t have much faith in the electoral commission really thought that Shadary, who is backed by Kabila, would win.”
Tshisekedi, 55, is the son of the late Etienne Tshisekedi, the face of the DRC’s opposition for decades.