DR Congo Elections: Results are in with President Felix Tshisekedi leading the way

  • By Joseph Winter
  • Africa editor, BBC News website

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Millions of people queued for hours to vote

Full results from the Democratic Republic of Congo's election are expected soon, with President Felix Tshisekedi leading opposition candidates seeking re-election.

President Tshisekedi has received around 72% of the votes reported so far and looks set for a second term.

The December 20 election was marred by widespread logistical problems.

It had to be extended to a second day in some parts of the vast country.

Two-thirds of polling stations were opened late, while 30% of voting machines were not working, the observer group said.

Hundreds of thousands of people waited for hours before casting their ballots, and some even gave up and went home.

The opposition said the problems were part of a planned scheme to allow the results to be rigged in favor of Mr Tshisekedi.

After the results were announced on Sunday, several key contenders have called for protests.

“We call upon our people to take to the streets en masse after the announcement of electoral irregularities,” they said in a joint statement, rejecting the “fake” election.

The Election Commission chief had earlier said that opposition candidates wanted fresh elections because “they know they lost…they are bad losers”.

Election chief Denis Kadima admitted some irregularities but insisted the results announced so far reflect the will of the Congolese people.

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta already Posted a message on X Congratulations to Mr Tshisekedi on his re-election.

Football magnate and mining tycoon Moise Katumbi is second with about 18% of the vote, while former oil executive Martin Fayulu, who claims to have robbed him of victory in the 2018 election, is third with about 5%.

Election officials are yet to say exactly how many polling booths were opened and how many people voted.

17.8 million votes have been counted so far from 55,000 polling booths out of 76,000. About 44 million people are registered to vote.

It is unclear whether any of the 18 opposition candidates will challenge the results in court – which Mr Katumbi has already said is not worth it as the courts are not independent.

With the inauguration scheduled for January 20, 2024, the Constitutional Court has 10 days to hear any legal challenges before announcing the final results.

DR Congo is roughly four times the size of France, but lacks basic infrastructure. Even some of its major cities are not connected by road.

Two-thirds of the country's 100 million people live below the poverty line, earning $2.15 (£1.70) a day or less.

Voters also chose parliamentary, provincial and municipal representatives, with a total of 100,000 candidates.

Due to the three decades of fighting in the east, elections have not been held in those areas.

Dozens of armed groups are fighting for control of parts of the region, home to the country's largest mineral reserves.

It also includes vast reserves of cobalt, a key component of many lithium batteries seen as essential to a future free of fossil fuels.

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