DR Congo opposition candidates reject provisional election results News
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DR Congo opposition candidates reject provisional election results

Multiple opposition presidential candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rejected the provisional election results Sunday, which incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi was announced to have won, and urged supporters to mobilize.

Martin Fayulu, the leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party, in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), rejected the “farcical results” and asked the Congolese people to protest against the coup in line with Article 64 of the DRC Constitution, which states, “All Congolese have the duty to oppose any individual or group of individuals who seize power by force or who exercise it in violation of the provisions of this Constitution.” Moise Katumbi, the leader of the Together for the Republic party also urged the people to “march peacefully” against the “sham election.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission of DRC (CENI) released the provisional results of the presidential election that took place on December 20. The published results showed a landslide victory for President Felix Tshisekedi with 73.34 percent of the vote. Katumbi came second with 18 percent of the vote and Fayulu, who received 5 percent, finished third. The election chief said that the election saw 40 percent turnout with about 18 million people casting ballots, out of the 44 million registered voters. He added that the results would be sent to the constitutional courts for confirmation. After the release of provisional results, opposition candidates have a two-day window to submit their claims, with the constitutional court allotted seven days to make a decision.

Ahead of the announcement of the results, several opposition candidates issued a joint declaration, pointing to the irregularities observed before, during and after the voting process. The irregularities allegedly included corruption, delayed opening of polling stations, technical issues, misappropriation of electoral kits and stations without the kits, electoral fraud and vote-rigging. In December, The DRC government banned planned protests, against mishandling of elections. Additionally, the government has rejected calls for a re-run of disputed elections.

The DRC presidential election was originally scheduled for December 20; however, it had to be extended for one day due to several technical and logistical hurdles that hampered the process. People complained that they were not able to find their names in the voting list, several voting booths were found shut and cases of violence further hindered the process. DRC’s presidential campaign was marred by a series of violent incidents across the country. These incidents included live firing on the crowd at a campaign rally, reportedly injuring several. Additionally, two presidential candidates were killed in separate incidents. Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement, calling on authorities to “urgently and impartially” investigate the violent incidents. It pressed authorities to “deter attacks” and “prioritize accountability.” Reporters without Borders (RSF) also released a statement urging the authorities to maintain a protected environment for journalists, who have reportedly been threatened and attacked.