Presidential election in the DRC: the re-election of Félix Tshisekedi confirmed after the rejection of requests for annulment

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) confirmed, Tuesday January 9, the re-election of Félix Tshisekedi in the presidential election of December 20, 2023, with more than 73% of the votes, after rejecting a request to annul a candidate for election

Presidential election in the DRC: the re-election of Félix Tshisekedi confirmed after the rejection of requests for annulment

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) confirmed, Tuesday January 9, the re-election of Félix Tshisekedi in the presidential election of December 20, 2023, with more than 73% of the votes, after rejecting a request to annul a candidate for election.

According to the final results proclaimed by the institution, the outgoing president, in power since January 2019, did better than the 73.34% announced on December 31 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with 73.47% of the votes cast. .

To achieve this result, the Constitutional Court deducted from the scores of the 26 presidential candidates the votes recorded in two constituencies where the CENI canceled the general elections on January 5 due to various frauds.

A quadruple vote – presidential, legislative, provincial and local – was organized on December 20 and extended by at least one day due to delays caused by numerous logistical problems. More than 40 million voters were called to the polls, out of a total of around 100 million inhabitants of this central African country almost four and a half times larger than France.

“Cheating organized in advance”

The final figures do not change the ranking of the 26 candidates who were in the running for the presidential election, a single round election, but slightly change for some their percentage of votes obtained. Félix Tshisekedi is followed by the former governor of Katanga (south-east) Moïse Katumbi, who won 18.08% of the votes (unchanged), then by the other opponent Martin Fayulu, who obtained 4.92% (compared to 5 .33% according to provisional figures). Another candidate, former Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, is credited with 1.13% of the vote (compared to 1.12). Everyone else, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, falls below 1%.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court examined a request from a candidate, Théodore Ngoy, who came last in the election, who requested the cancellation of the presidential election, tainted according to him by a “multitude of irregularities”.

His referral to the Court dated January 3, but he was able to add to his argument the rather spectacular decision of the CENI which, two days later, canceled the votes in two constituencies and for 82 candidates in the general elections, due to fraud , acts of vandalism, intimidation of voters or illegal use of voting machines.

“It was about combined votes, how can we cancel candidates in certain elections and not in the presidential election? “, asked the applicant, who spoke of “cheating organized in advance”.

« Simulacre »

The Constitutional Court, which rendered its decision on Tuesday before announcing the final results, therefore took into account the CENI measure, but rejected Théodore Ngoy's request. She notably considered that given the enormous gap separating Félix Tshisekedi from his opponents, the irregularities noted could not change the order of arrival of the candidates. A private citizen had filed another petition to annul the elections, which was deemed inadmissible.

The main opposition candidates for the presidential election had, for their part, refused to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court, which they consider subservient to power, just like the CENI. They nevertheless demand the cancellation of the elections which they describe as a “sham” and demand the organization of a new vote by a new electoral commission.

The Catholic and Protestant Churches, which had deployed their own observers, said they had “documented numerous cases of irregularities likely to affect the integrity of the results of various elections in certain places”, without declaring the elections fraudulent. Once the results have been declared, the swearing-in of Félix Tshisekedi, re-elected for a second five-year term, is scheduled for the coming days.

Post-election tensions are feared in this country with a turbulent and often violent political history, whose population is predominantly poor despite the immense wealth underground.