Democratic Republic of Congo to release results of disputed presidential elections

Democratic Republic of Congo to release results of disputed presidential elections

The winner of DR Congo’s election to replace long-serving President Joseph Kabila is scheduled to be announced today. The expected

Photo: Reuters/Samuel Mambo

The winner of DR Congo’s election to replace long-serving President Joseph Kabila is scheduled to be announced today. The expected preliminary results follow a week of political unrest amid claims of election tampering. Last

Sunday, Mr Kabila’s preferred successor, former interior minister Emmanuel Shadary, faced off against two opposition candidates: Felix Tshisekedi and Martin Fayulu. Opinion polling suggested the latter two were leading prior to election day.

Voting, however, was postponed in several opposition strongholds—the government justifying its decision by the recent Ebola outbreak. This, coupled with other complaints to the UN regarding voter intimidation and election monitors being barred access, has led to allegations of fraud. Internet access and pro-opposition TV and radio stations have also been cut as the results continue being counted.

If either opposition candidate comes out ahead in the election, expect possible excuses by the ruling party to cling to power, likely to be met with protests and further unrest. If Mr Shadary is announced the victor, further violence is also likely—potentially destabilising the DRC’s east where armed militias are active. Thus, expect political chaos regardless of today’s result, furthering the deterioration regional stability.

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