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Democratic Republic of Congo's disputed presidential election

From doubt to recognition: Felix Tshisekedi will be sworn in as the African country's new president

Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the main Democratic Republic of Congo opposition party The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), speaks during a press conference in 2017. AFP
Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the main Democratic Republic of Congo opposition party The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), speaks during a press conference in 2017. AFP

Felix Tshisekedi will be sworn in as the Democratic Republic of Congo's new president on Thursday after an election fraught with delays and doubts.

Here is a recap.

Two-year delay

After being postponed three times, the elections go ahead on December 30, 2018 to choose a successor to president Joseph Kabila.

His term ran out in late 2016 and his extended stay in power had resulted in demonstrations and criticism.

The election is held in relative calm although clashes claim four lives in the volatile eastern South Kivu province.

Voting is delayed until March 2019 in two regions affected by unrest and Ebola.


On December 31, the influential Catholic bishops conference says its observers had identified anomalies in the vote count.

On January 2, with tensions growing, Kinshasa pulls the accreditation of a French radio journalist and halts broadcasts of the popular Radio France Internationale.

Surprise result

After a long delay the electoral commission issues provisional results in the early hours of January 10, declaring that opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi won with 38.57 per cent.

Pre-vote favourite, the opposition's Martin Fayulu, took 34.8 per cent, it says.

Mr Kabila's chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, has 23.8 per cent.

Mr Fayulu immediately denounces an "electoral coup".


Read more:

Democratic Republic of Congo court declares Felix Tshisekedi is elected president

Democratic Republic of Congo rejects request to suspend election results

African Union seeks delay of decision on Democratic Republic of Congo presidential vote

DR Congo: Regional blocs call for vote recount as crisis rolls on


Results disputed

France queries the result and the United States calls for "clarification". The Catholic Church says the result does not tally with its own data.

On January 11, a curfew is declared in Kikwit, Mr Fayulu's bastion in the west, where at least nine people are killed in protests.

Towards co-habitation

Legislative election results are announced on January 12, giving pro-Kabila parties a majority in the national assembly.

It means that Mr Tshisekedi's prime minister will come from Mr Kabila's camp.

Court challenge

Mr Fayulu lodges an appeal on January 12 in the Constitutional Court against the presidential vote results.

The following day, the Southern African Development Community urges a recount.

On January 15, documents leaked to foreign media – including the Financial Times, TV5 Monde and RFI – back Mr Fayulu's claim to be the winner.

Felix Tshisekedi confirmed

On January 18, the DRC rebukes the African Union for expressing "serious doubts" over the provisional result, saying the Constitutional Court – considering Fayulu's appeal – is impartial.

The court on January 20 dismisses the appeal and confirms Mr Tshisekedi as winner.

Mr Fayulu calls on the international community to reject the victory.

Doubts, recognition

The same day SADC congratulates president-elect Tshisekedi and calls for a peaceful handover of power.

The EU says that "doubts remain".

After talks in Brussels, the AU and EU signal on January 22 their willingness to accept Mr Tshisekedi as winner and to work with him as president.

Updated: January 24, 2019 11:38 AM



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