What you need to know about the contested DRC election result

Actor Ryan Gosling urges equitable trade in Congo minerals

Actor Ryan Gosling urges equitable trade in Congo minerals

The Catholic Church is widely venerated across the country of 80 million and is believed to have accurate election data gathered by a 40,000-strong team of election observers who tallied results displayed at individual polling stations.

His statement notably did not congratulate Tshisekedi, whose victory has been met with accusations that he had struck a deal with Kabila.

He took over from his assassinated father Laurent in 2001.

He suggested that Mr. Tshisekedi may have been declared the victor as a result of a bargain with Mr. Kabila, perhaps because he has wavered in his opposition to the government in the past.

Burdened by a history of bloodshed, DRC has never had a peaceful handover of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Tshisekedi is the son of the legendary Etienne Tshisekedi, who led opposition to three successive presidents over 35 years. "Today we should no longer see him as an adversary but rather as a partner for democratic change in our country", he told supporters. Tshisekedi attends the same Pentecostal church as Fayulu in Kinshasa.

He further said: "To all those who learned of the truth of the ballot boxes, especially to the Congo's National Bishops' Episcopal Conference, CENCO, and the Church of Congo, LCC, through your historical observations, we ask you to reveal to the Congolese people and to the whole world the name of the person who really was our people's choice".

Washington said in a U.S. State Department statement it "takes note" of the results, but added it awaits "clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count".

Tshisekedi's camp has acknowledged contact with Kabila's representatives since the vote but said they were aimed at ensuring a peaceful transition and denied there had been any deal.

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Tshisekedi's academic qualifications are important because the DRC's electoral commission requires that every presidential candidate must have either a postgraduate diploma, or at least five years' experience in politics, administration, or socio-economy.

Fayulu supporters say Kabila made a deal with Tshisekedi after Kabila's own hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, failed to gain enough support to be a credible victor. "They have stolen the Congolese people's victory and the people will never accept that".

"Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission".

Two civilians and two policemen were killed Thursday and another 10 people injured when a protest erupted in the western city of Kikwit, a Fayulu stronghold, police said.

Analysts described Tshisekedi's win as "highly surprising", but said it made sense in the context of DRC's political dynamics.

The independent electoral commission is expected to release detailed results on January 15 and the new president will be sworn in three days later.

Tshilumbu praised Kabila, whose 18-year rule was marred by a controversial 2011 election, a violent crackdown on opposition supporters and allegations that he used his position to expand his family's business interests.

The election's supervisors had faced mounting pressure at home and overseas to publish the results of the December 30 poll after repeated delays stoked fears for the giant country's stability.

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