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Congo's Supreme Court Confirms Kabila Election Victory

Congolese president Joseph Kabila casts his ballot in the country's presidential election at a polling station in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 28, 2011 (file photo).

The Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo has upheld President Joseph Kabila's victory in a contested election.

The court announced Friday that Kabila won close to 49 percent of the November 28 vote and that the opposition failed to prove its allegations of election irregularities.

Earlier Friday, leaders from Africa's Great Lakes region welcomed the re-election of President Kabila despite the controversy.

The 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region issued a statement at the end of a two-day summit in Uganda's capital, Kampala, congratulating Kabila on his win. The bloc also urged opposition parties who have challenged the results to accept them and work toward building Congo.

After the highly contested vote, international election observers reported numerous irregularities during both the vote and the counting process.

The presidential and legislative polls were only the second free elections in Congo since the nation was torn apart by several years of warfare that ended in 2003.

The official tally from last month's poll showed Kabila with 49 percent of the vote and the second-place finisher, Etienne Tshisekedi, with 32 percent. Tshisekedi rejected the results and proclaimed himself president.

The third-place finisher, Vital Kamerhe, claimed the vote was rigged and filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court seeking to annul the results.

The U.S.-based Carter Center, founded by former President Jimmy Carter, issued a statement saying the vote lacked credibility. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that the election was flawed, but that it was not clear whether the problems were enough to change the outcome.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.