DRC President Felix Tshisekedi wins re-election in a landslide

Losing candidates, including Nobel Peace laureat Denis Mukwege, call for re-run

The President Felix Tshisekedi with his spouse Denise Nyakero greet supporters after the announcement of the election results at the headquarters of his electoral campaign, in Gombe, Kinshasa. AFP
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Felix Tshisekedi won a second term as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a landslide, according to provisional results of an election that opposition leaders have dismissed as a sham.

The results declared by the country's electoral commission on Sunday showed that Mr Tshisekedi had won 73 per cent of the vote in the single-round presidential ballot. Turnout was 43 per cent.

The President, along with his wife and his mother, appeared on a balcony at his campaign headquarters in the capital Kinshasa to address supporters.

"I have been re-elected president of all Congolese," Mr Tshisekedi, dressed in a white shirt and cap, told cheering supporters. "It's in this spirit of openness that I will exercise this second mandate."

Moise Katumbi, a wealthy businessman, football club owner and former provincial governor, was the runner-up with about 18 per cent.

The country's Constitutional Court is expected to confirm the provisional results on January 10.

Mr Tshisekedi, 60, first came to power in January 2019 after a disputed election that many observers said he had lost.

Martin Fayulu, who says he was robbed of victory in the 2018 presidential election, also contested this year's poll but in the end won about 5 per cent of the votes.

The 20 remaining candidates, including Denis Mukwege, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with female victims of wartime sexual violence, were hovering around one per cent or less.

Nine opposition candidates, including Mr Mukwege, Mr Fayulu and Mr Katumbi, signed a declaration on Sunday rejecting what they termed a "sham" election and called for a re-run.

Mr Fayulu told reporters in Kinshasa the results "are a masquerade. This must not be accepted".

Tresor Kibangula, a political analyst at the Ebuteli research institute, said Mr Tshisekedi's vote tally was "way beyond all expectations".

"His dynamic campaign worked" but his scores in some regions "raise questions about the impact of the irregularities that were observed", he said.

More than 40 million people out of the 100 million inhabitants of the huge country were registered to vote on December 20 for president, as well as for national and regional lawmakers and municipal councillors.

Voting was officially extended by a day to account for problems, and continued for days afterwards in remote areas, according to observers.

One Catholic-Protestant observer mission said it "documented numerous cases of irregularities susceptible to have affected the integrity of the vote".

The US called for peaceful and transparent resolution of any election disputes after Mr Tshisekedi was declared the winner.

"Any election disputes should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with Congolese electoral law," a State Department representative said on Sunday.

About 15 embassies have called for "restraint" in the poor but mineral-rich country where post-election tensions have been common.

Authorities say they have taken steps to prevent unrest, especially in the mining areas of the south-east that are Mr Katumbi's stronghold.

They also stress that any electoral disputes must be presented to the Constitutional Court.

But opposition leaders said they have no confidence in the court or the electoral commission, which they argue is subservient to the government.

Updated: January 02, 2024, 4:41 AM