Felix Tshisekedi wins Congo’s presidential election

Felix Tshisekedi wins Congo’s presidential election

On Thursday, Felix Tshisekedi got elected as the Democratic Republic of Congo, filling the nation with both cheers and shock. Corneille Nangaa, President of Congo’s election commission announced the results of the nation’s presidential elections which were held on 30 December. The declaration of election result was made in a news conference held at 3 a.m. The timing of announcement was deliberately kept so in order to avoid immediate outburst of any riotous situation.

Nangaa said, “Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo is declared the provisionally- elected president of Democratic Republic of Congo.” He added that Tshisekedi won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast,

Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congo’s main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) emerged as winner of provincial elections,  marking the country’s first democratic transfer of power in last 6 decades of its independence. The Central African country gained freedom from Belgium in 1960.

Besides Tshisekedi, the other two contenders in the race were Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, former interior minister and Martin Fayulu, a businessman.

Shadary, who was favoured by of President Joseph Kabila, expressed his shock for the election outcome. He rejected the results, raising a cry for the release of the name “of the person who really was our people’s choice.” His statement was backed by French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who said that the elections were rigged as  they portrayed a different picture as was witnessed during the vote count. The opposition brought to light certain election irregularities as the authorities cancelled voting on election day for more than one million people, due to outbreak of violence in Ebola.

The election results have been contested and if Tshisekedi gets a clean chit from the constitutional court in the next 10 days, he will replace Kabila who has been ruling since 2001.  Also it would make Tshisekedi the first leader to come in power through ballot box decision since Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was removed in a coup less than three months after independence in 1960 and killed four months later.