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Kabila Declared Winner in Congo's Presidential Election


The Democratic Republic of Congo's incumbent President Joseph Kabila has won the country's first free and open presidential election in more than four decades. In results released late Wednesday, Mr. Kabila garnered 58 percent of ballots cast.

It was on state-owned television late Wednesday that the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo's national electoral commission, Apollinaire Malumalu, officially declared the incumbent president, Joseph Kabila, the winner.

He rejected earlier claims by members of his rival Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba's political coalition, the Union for the Nation, of irregularities, saying there were not complaints of what he called "material errors."

Complete results had been published on the commission's website earlier in the day. However, according to Congo's electoral laws, they were not made official until the commission president's public announcement.

According to the official figures, Mr. Kabila won 58 percent of the vote, compared to Bemba's 42 percent.

In a televised address broadcast soon after the announcement of results, Mr. Kabila said he was aware of the difficulties facing Congo following a 1998 to 2003 civil war that left an estimated four million people dead.

He said a united Congo would complete the path towards national reconciliation and rid the country of tribalism and xenophobia.

The announcement of first round results in August sparked three days of heavy fighting in the capital, Kinshasa, between militants loyal to Bemba and Mr. Kabila's presidential guard that left at least 23 dead.

Similar clashes broke out Saturday in front of Bemba's Kinshasa residence, killing another four people.

Mr. Kabila said in his address that Congolese authorities had been instructed to assure peace across the country.