DR Congo presidential election: Church questions results

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The influential Catholic Church has questioned the official results of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s controversial presidential election.

Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was named the winner on Thursday.

However, the Church, which posted 40,000 election observers, says the result does not match its findings.

The runner-up, opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, has told the BBC he will mount a legal challenge against the official vote count.

“The result is a coup and not the truth from the ballot,” he said on Thursday. “The Congolese want change.”

He accused Mr Tshisekedi of reaching a power-sharing deal with the ruling party, a claim the veteran figure has denied.

If confirmed, Mr Tshisekedi will be the first opposition challenger to win since the DR Congo gained independence in 1960.

He has vowed to be “the president of all DR Congolese”, saying: “No-one could have imagined such a scenario whereby an opposition candidate would emerge victorious.”

However, runner-up Martin Fayulu, who is also an opposition candidate, has described it as an “electoral coup”.

The current president, Joseph Kabila, is stepping down after 18 years in office.

The candidate from Mr Kabila’s party had initially been expected to win, but ended up finishing third – and is not challenging the results.

Mr Fayulu’s supporters say this backs their suspicion that Mr Tshisekedi has cut a power-sharing deal with Mr Kabila. Mr Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Louis d’Or Ngalamulume, said there was “never any deal”.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church says the result given by the electoral commission does not correspond with its own tally, and the French and Belgian governments have also expressed doubts about the result.

The church did not name anyone in its statement, and urged all parties to refrain from violence.

However, three diplomats speaking anonymously to Reuters said the church tallies had showed Mr Fayulu winning.

According to the National Electoral Commission (Ceni), Mr Tshisekedi received 38.5% of the vote in the 30 December election.

The full results were, with turnout reportedly 48%:

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