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African Union urges DR Congo to delay final election results

20 January 2019

DR Congo's top court said it will give its verdict Saturday on the final election results which have been challenged both internationally and at home, spurning an appeal from the African Union to suspend the announcement.

Hundreds of supporters of opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, the declared victor of the election, gathered outside the court holding placards saying "No to interference" and "Independent country" as riot police stood nearby.

A constitutional court in Congo issued a middle-of-the-night decision early Sunday confirming results announced a week ago by the election commission that declared opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi the victor of a contentious presidential election.

But Fayulu requested a recount, saying he had won with over 60 percent of the vote and that Tshisekedi was announced victor only after striking a deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila. Fayulu, leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party, was a joint candidate chosen by seven oppositional leaders in run-up to the election.

Tshisekedi said early on Sunday that the Constitutional Court's decision confirming him as the victor of the presidential election was a victory for the entire country.

Mende said the AU delegation was welcome, but that the post-election process would remain unchanged.

Runner-up Martin Fayulu, who has previously described the outcome as an "electoral coup" forged by Tshisekedi and Kabila, immediately called on the global community to reject the results.

"The results contradict those published by the election commission", the CRG said on its website. Mr Fayulu's supporters have alleged that when voters failed to come out for Mr Shadary in sufficient numbers - he finished third - the election commission was told to install Mr Tshisekedi instead.

The court, however, said Fayulu offered no proof to back his assertions that he had won easily based on leaked data attributed to the electoral commission.

The rare move from the group injects fresh uncertainty into the post-election process, which was meant to usher in the country's first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence, but has been mired in controversy since the December 30 vote. At least 34 people have already been killed since provisional results were released on January 10, the United Nations said.

"We call upon the global community to respect the ongoing internal legal and political processes for the finalisation of the electoral process", SADC said in a statement, without mentioning the previous appeal for a broad-based government. His supporters who had gathered outside the court cheered.

Accusations of cheating are not new to elections in Congo, which was ruled by kleptocratic dictator Mobutu Sese Seko for 32 years before tumbling into chaos and war in the late 1990s.

Pressure from African nations is seen as having more of an impact on Congo's government, which was annoyed by Western pressure during more than two years of turbulent election delays.

Tshisekedi and Kabila's political parties refused to engage with leaked data from the election commission and the largest election observer mission, called Cenco, that showed Fayulu winning the December 30 election with around 60 percent of total votes.

Fears of unrest The country of 80 million people, rich in the minerals key to smartphones around the world, is moving close to achieving its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960. Tshisekedi's party rejected the request outright.

Tshisekedi's supporters were celebrating the court decision in the streets of Kinshasa.

African Union urges DR Congo to delay final election results