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World News

Elections in DR Congo: results expected under the leadership of President Félix Tshisekedi

  • By Joseph Winter
  • Africa Editor, BBC News website

Legend,

Millions of people waited in line for many hours before being able to vote

Full election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected soon, with President Félix Tshisekedi enjoying a commanding lead over opposition candidates who have demanded a new election.

President Tshisekedi has received around 72% of the votes cast so far and appears set to run for a second term.

The December 20 elections were marred by numerous logistical problems.

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

About two-thirds of polling stations opened late, while 30% of voting machines did not work, according to a group of observers.

Millions of people waited hours before being able to vote, while some gave up and went home.

The opposition said the problems were part of a deliberate plan to allow the results to be rigged in Mr Tshisekedi’s favor.

This proposal was rejected by the head of the electoral commission, who said opposition candidates wanted new elections because “they know they lost… they are sore losers.”

Elections chief Denis Kadima acknowledged some irregularities but insisted the results announced so far reflected the will of the Congolese people.

Former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has already posted a message on congratulating Mr. Tshisekedi on his re-election.

Football tycoon and mining magnate Moise Katumbi comes in second with around 18% of the vote, while former oil executive Martin Fayulu, who claims victory in the 2018 elections was stolen from him, is second. third place with around 5% of the votes.

Election officials still have not said how many polling places were open or how many people voted.

So far, some 17.8 million votes have been counted, in 55,000 of 76,000 polling stations. Around 44 million people were registered to vote.

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

The Constitutional Court has 10 days to hear possible legal challenges before announcing the final results on January 10, 2024, with the swearing-in ceremony scheduled for January 20.

The DRC is about four times the size of France, but lacks basic infrastructure. Even some of its main cities are not connected by road.

Around 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 around 100,000 candidates in total.

Elections were not held in parts of the country’s east due to fighting that has raged in the region for three decades.

Dozens of armed groups are fighting to control parts of the region, which is home to much of the country’s vast mineral wealth.

This includes vast reserves of cobalt, a key element in many lithium batteries, considered essential to a fossil fuel-free future.

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Video caption,

Elections in DR Congo: “I did not vote and I slept here”

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