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Félix Tshisekedi reelected as DR Congo president

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President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been declared the winner of the recent election on Sunday, securing about 73% of the vote.

The announcement has sparked controversy and condemnation from several opposition candidates who have deemed the election a “sham” and are demanding a rerun.

The election, held on December 20, 2023, faced numerous challenges, including widespread logistical problems and delays in opening two-thirds of polling stations.

A significant portion of voting machines, approximately 30%, did not function on the first day of voting, contributing to long queues and frustration among voters.

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Opposition leaders allege that these challenges were intentional, aimed at facilitating election rigging in favor of President Tshisekedi.

Despite the irregularities, Denis Kadima, the head of the election commission, insisted that the results reflected the will of the Congolese people.

Tshisekedi’s victory was announced with Moise Katumbi, his nearest challenger, securing 18% of the vote. Several opposition candidates have called for mass protests against what they perceive as electoral fraud.

In response to the announcement, the army has been deployed in various parts of the capital, Kinshasa, to prevent potential unrest. Meanwhile, supporters of Tshisekedi took to the streets to celebrate.

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The election commission acknowledged some irregularities, but Kadima emphasized that the opposition’s call for a new election stemmed from being “bad losers.”

Tshisekedi, the son of veteran opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi, was first elected in 2019.

The Constitutional Court has ten days to address any legal challenges before final results are announced on January 10, 2024.

The DRC, approximately four times the size of France, lacks basic infrastructure, impacting the electoral process.

Over two-thirds of the country’s 100 million people live below the poverty line. The elections also included the selection of parliamentary, provincial, and municipal representatives.

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Tshisekedi’s campaign included rhetoric against Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, accusing him of supporting the M23 rebel group.

The elections did not take place in parts of the east due to ongoing conflicts, displacing millions of people.

The DRC, home to vast mineral wealth, faces challenges from armed groups vying for control, particularly in the mineral-rich eastern regions.

The country holds significant cobalt reserves, crucial for lithium batteries in a future less reliant on fossil fuels.

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