Elections in the DRC: outgoing president, Félix Tshisekedi, heading towards a big victory

A large victory for the outgoing president, Félix Tshisekedi, in the elections of December 20 and 21 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seemed assured on Thursday evening, December 28, in view of increasingly consistent partial results officially granting him 76% of the votes

Elections in the DRC: outgoing president, Félix Tshisekedi, heading towards a big victory

A large victory for the outgoing president, Félix Tshisekedi, in the elections of December 20 and 21 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seemed assured on Thursday evening, December 28, in view of increasingly consistent partial results officially granting him 76% of the votes. Out of 12.5 million votes counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Félix Tshisekedi, 60, who is seeking a second five-year term, obtained 9.5 million.

Followed by businessman and former governor of Katanga (South-East) Moïse Katumbi (16.5%) and the other opponent Martin Fayulu (4.4%). The twenty or so other candidates, notably Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, do not reach 1%.

Nearly 44 million voters, out of a total of around 100 million inhabitants, were called to the polls. The CENI has not established a participation rate, but Congolese media have already calculated that the outgoing president could no longer be overtaken by his adversaries and headlined: “Félix Tshisekedi re-elected”.

However, no official statement was made Thursday evening. A long-established CENI schedule calls for the publication on December 31 of the full provisional results of the presidential election, a single-round election. The final word must come to the Constitutional Court in January. “We will never accept this sham election and these results”, the result of “organized, planned fraud”, Martin Fayulu declared on Tuesday, when the police had just prevented a first post-electoral protest demonstration.

“Irregularities”

In addition to the presidential election, legislative, provincial and local elections were organized last week. The quadruple poll was scheduled for December 20. But, due to numerous logistical problems, it was extended to the 21st by the CENI and continued for several days in certain remote areas, until the 27th according to an observation mission from the Catholic and Protestant Churches which published its report on Thursday. preliminary report.

According to its own “parallel count”, this mission says it has noted that a candidate, whose name it does not specify, “stood out significantly from the others, with more than half of the votes alone”. She adds, however, that she has “documented numerous cases of irregularities likely to affect the integrity of the results of different ballots in certain places.”

Since the start of the process, opponents have accused the government of planning fraud and called on their activists to be “vigilant”. As early as December 20, they had described the elections as “total chaos” and also denounced “irregularities.” Shortly after, around fifteen embassies called for “restraint”.

Tensions are feared when the results are announced, in a country with a turbulent and often violent political history, a subsoil immensely rich in minerals but a predominantly poor population. “We have taken all measures so that peace reigns,” Interior Minister Peter Kazadi assured Tuesday, announcing that the demonstration planned the next day by certain opponents was prohibited.

He specified that security had been reinforced, particularly in Lubumbashi (South-East), stronghold of Moïse Katumbi, where elements of the army were deployed during the Christmas weekend. “Chaos has not happened and it will not happen,” said government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya alongside him.

In addition to the tense political climate, the electoral campaign was poisoned by the security situation in the east of the country, which has been experiencing a peak of tension for two years with the resurgence of the M23 rebellion, supported by neighboring Rwanda. Some candidates were accused of being “foreigners”, a way of discrediting them in a country scarred by years of conflict.