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DR Congo: How Opposition Won The Presidency

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Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was declared winner of the just held presidential election in DR Congo, after defeating the preferred candidate of incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, in the keenly contested poll.

Kabila, who has been in office for 18 years, took over affairs of DR Congo in 2001 from his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who had been president of the Central African country from 1997 until his assassination by one of his bodyguards on January 16, 2001.

While Kabila has accepted the loss of his preferred candidate Emmanuel Shadary, local reports suggest that the outcome of the election is attracting tension as another opposition candidate who came second in the poll, Martin Fayulu, is alleging an “electoral coup” in the poll.

Tshisekedi’s victory in the election has been described as surprising as many expected that Shadary of the ruling ‎People’s Party for Reconstruction would take the baton after an end of the 22-Year Kabila era in the country.

According to the results declared by Congo’s National Electoral Commission (Ceni), Tshisekedi scored 38.5% which placed him four points ahead of runner-up Fayulu in the election that reportedly recorded 48% turnout.

Official results declared in the DR Congo presidential election were given as:

* Felix Tshisekedi – 7 million votes

* Martin Fayulu – 6.4 million votes

* Emmanuel Shadary – 4.4 million votes

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– How Tshisekedi won –

According to DR Congo’s 2006 constitution, the President is directly elected to a five-year term that is renewable only once. Kabila had been re-elected in 2006 after serving his first term from 2001. He was said to have secured another term in controversial elections in 2011.

It was gathered that the incumbent president was consequently barred from running for another term under the constitution.

Kabila was said to have handpicked Shadary to succeed him even though the latter was considered a rather weak candidate compared to the two leading candidates in the poll.

Tshisekedi, it was learnt, leveraged Shadary’s supposed weakness to his advantage, as he reportedly refused to be part of Fayulu’s united opposition to defeat the ruling party’s Shadary in the election.

– Who is Félix Tshisekedi? – 

Tshisekedi won the presidential election under his leadership of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the oldest and largest opposition party in DR Congo.

The President-elect, who has served as a three-time Prime Minister of Zaire, is the son of late leader of the UDPS, Etienne Tshisekedi. He had taken over as the party’s leader after the death of his father in early 2017.

Immediately after his father’s death on February 1, 2017 the UDPS picked him as the party’s presidential candidate in Congo’s general elections that took place on December 30, 2018.

Tshisekedi had rejected a chance to take a seat in the Central African country’s National Assembly in 2011, on the grounds that the election was fraudulent. He was to represent Mbuji Mayi in the Kasai-Oriental province.

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