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December 08, 2011

Kabila Named Winner of DRC Election; Tshisekedi Rejects Results

by Scott Stearns

Electoral officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say President Joseph Kabila has won re-election in a vote marred by violence and delays.  Our correspondent reports from Kinshasa that the president's leading opponent is rejecting those results and says he is the country's new president.

Supporters of President Kabila cheered his re-election outside the headquarters of Congo's Electoral Commission.  After a three-day delay, commission president Daniel Ngoy-Mulunda announced the complete totals to a packed meeting room in a ceremony broadcast live on national television.

Ngoy-Mulunda says President Kabila won re-election with 48.9 percent of ballots.  His closest challenger, the long-time opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, finished with 32 percent of the vote.  Turnout for last month's presidential and legislative polling was about 58 percent.

Ngoy-Mulunda says the electoral commission deplores the violence that occurred in the run-up to the vote.  Human Rights Watch says at least 18 people were killed and 100 injured.

The electoral commission president says in every vote there is one winner and at least one loser.  He says candidates who do not agree with the results should use legal means to contest the outcome.

Tshisekedi's party says Congo's supreme court lacks the independence to rule fairly on electoral challenges.  In an interview with VOA,  Tshisekedi rejected the results.

Tshisekedi says Ngoy-Mulunda's declaration of President Kabila's re-election is a provocation against the Congolese people.  Tshisekedi says he sees himself from this day forward as the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the people's will.

Tshisekedi called on his supporters to remain calm until further instructions and urged the international community to step in to avoid what he says could be a new bloodbath in Congolese territory.  Reaction in pro-Tshisekedi neighborhoods of the capital was subdued with some people burning tires but no large-scale protest.

In a separate interview with VOA, the third-place finisher in this vote, former Kabila ally Vital Kamerhe, says he believes Tshisekedi won this vote as well.

International observers say they are pleased that the electoral commission agreed to publish results polling station by polling station so candidates and electoral observers can compare those totals with what was announced after each individual vote count.  That will likely be the basis of legal challenges to this outcome.