Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition leader Felix Tshesekedi has been declared the provisional winner of a December 30th Presidential poll that could signal the first democratic transfer of power in the mineral-rich country.
Tshisekedi was declared by the country’s electoral commission CENI in the wee hours of Thursday morning an announcement which has been rejected by another opposition leader Martin Fayulu who had long been polled as the country’s favorite and who came in second.
Tshisekedi garnered more than 7 million votes while Fayulu garnered 6.4 million votes.
Outgoing president Joseph Kabila’s endorsed candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary came in third after garnering 4.4 million votes.
The announcement came amidst pressure by the country’s Catholic church which was running its own tallying of the results to CENI to announce a winner.
Last week, Catholic bishops told journalists that they clearly knew who the winner was and later briefed diplomats on their tallying results.
Two diplomats later told the Associated Press that the tallying by the Catholic church and other observer missions AU and SADC had found that Fayulu had won the election.
Fayulu who has termed the results as fabricated and rigged called on the Catholic church to release its poll results.
This latest development comes amidst claims that outgoing president Joseph Kabila had struck a deal with Tshesekedi’s camp over the fading hopes for Ramazani’s win.
Losing candidates can contest the poll results before the country’s constitutional court ahead of a swearing-in planned for the 18th of January.
Felix Tshisekedi who is the son of late opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi rose to power after the death of his father in 2017.