EU says ‘doubts remain’ over DR Congo election result

Supporters of DR Congo's President-elect Felix Tshisekedi celebrate after the country's Constitutional Court upheld Tshisekedi's victory by dismissing the appeal by his rival Martin Fayulu, in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20 January 2019. [Hugh Kinsella Cuningham/EPA/EFE]

The EU said Sunday (20 January)  that “doubts remain” over the result of the DR Congo’s disputed election, after the country’s highest court declared Felix Tshisekedi president, outraging opponents.

With fears running high that the poll dispute could plunge the perennially unstable central African nation into fresh turmoil, an EU spokeswoman pleaded for all sides to refrain from “any action that could lead to violence”.

Provisional results from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s much-troubled election granted victory to opposition leader Tshisekedi.

But his opposition rival Martin Fayulu immediately cried foul, branding the results “an electoral coup”.

World reaction cautious to disputed DR Congo vote result

Foreign leaders reacted cautiously to the outcome of DR Congo’s presidential election Thursday (10 January), with many choosing not to congratulate the man declared winner and appealing for disputes to be settled peacefully.

DR Congo’s constitutional court threw out a legal challenge by runner-up Martin Fayulu early Sunday, paving the way for Tshisekedi to take over from long-ruling strongman Joseph Kabila.

“We take note of the announcement by the Constitutional Court last night,” an EU spokeswoman said.

“As expressed by the AU (African Union) high level consultative meeting on Thursday in Addis, doubts remain regarding the conformity of the result,” she added.

The African Union has postponed sending a delegation to the DR Congo over the country’s disputed presidential election after the Constitutional Court declared Tshisekedi the victor, an AU spokeswoman said Sunday.

“All I can confirm at this time is that the trip has been postponed. We will release a statement shortly,” said Ebba Kalando, spokeswoman for the head of the AU Commission, Chadian Moussa Faki.

The AU had called for the final results to be delayed. But another regional bloc, the 16-nation Southern African Development Community, congratulated Tshisekedi on Sunday and called for a peaceful handover of power.

Tshisekedi’s victory was provisionally announced earlier this month by the election commission CENI, but it was challenged both at home and abroad.

The Financial Times and other foreign media have reported seeing documents that confirm Fayulu as the winner, and the influential Roman Catholic Church, which says it deployed 40,000 observers to monitor the poll, has also dismissed the official outcome.

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