Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was on 10 January 2019 declared the victor of DR Congo’s controversial presidential election in a surprise result swiftly denounced by his rival as a “coup”. In a pre-dawn announcement, the election commission named Tshisekedi, son of the country’s late veteran opposition leader, as provisional winner of the bitterly-contested December 30 vote. At stake is political stewardship of the notoriously unstable central African nation which has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.
  1. Tshisekedi’s apparent victory was greeted by celebrations at the headquarters of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the country’s oldest and largest opposition party which was founded by his father Etienne.
  2. The 55-year-old immediately pledged to work closely with current incumbent Joseph Kabila.
  3. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the declared outcome was “not consistent” with the results, saying that Fayulu appeared to have won.
  4. France’s Le Drian also said Fayulu had apparently won, pointing to a parallel count by DR Congo’s powerful Catholic Church which deployed more than 40,000 people to observe the vote.

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