KINSHASA CONGO. Felix Tshisekedi has vowed to be the president “of all Congolese” after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) electoral commission declared him the winner of the country’s long-delayed elections.
The result, which was announced in the early hours of Thursday, was rejected by rival Martin Fayulu, who was backed by opposition heavyweights and had led in polling prior to the December 30 vote.
Tshisekedi had won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast, Corneille Nangaa, head of the election commission said at about 3am (02:00 GMT) in a news conference that appeared timed to avoid any immediate reaction on the streets.
Tshisekedi received more than seven million votes compared with about 6.4 million for Fayulu, who had warned against manipulation. Mr Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the hand-picked candidate of long-time President Mr Joseph Kabila was third with about 4.4 million votes.
Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, one of Kabila’s top advisors, accepted the loss of the ruling party’s preferred candidate.
“Of course we are not happy as our candidate lost, but the Congolese people have chosen and democracy has triumphed,” Kikaya told Reuters news agency shortly after Tshisekedi was declared the winner.
The result could lead to the vast country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960, with Kabila due to leave office this month after 18 years in power – and two years after the official end of his mandate.
Speaking to thousands of cheering supporters in Kinshasa, Tshisekedi paid his respects to Kabila, whom he described as an important political partner.
“He said he is willing to be a president for all the people of DRC (Congo) and thanked Fayulu and Shadary, saying he is willing to work with them to build a better Congo.”
more details soon