DRC Polls: Early Results Give Incumbent President, Tshisekedi A Clear Lead

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission (Céni) on Monday, continued to release partial results from the December 20-21 presidential election, with incumbent leader Félix Tshisekedi leading by a wide margin -over 80% of the vote.

The results announced so far relate to 1,876,827 voters, out of a total of nearly 44 million registered in the vast country of around 100 million inhabitants.

At this stage of the vote count, according to the Céni, Félix Tshisekedi, who has been in power since the beginning of 2019 and is running for a second five-year term, has achieved a score of 81.4%.

He was followed by businessman and former governor of Katanga (southeast) Moïse Katumbi (15.18%) and the other opponent Martin Fayulu (1.2%).

The twenty or so other candidates in the running, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, failed to reach 1%.

The Céni has not established the turnout rate but has decided to gradually release the results of the presidential elections since Friday. These were held at the same time as the legislative, provincial and local elections, for which the results will be published at a later date.

The quadruple ballot had been scheduled for one day, the 20th, but was extended due to a number of logistical problems, officially by one day but extending into Christmas in some remote areas.

Opposition candidates have been denouncing the “chaos” and “irregularities” that marred the vote since the very first day.

Some are planning a demonstration for next Wednesday, while others are calling for the elections to be cancelled outright. The Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, described the elections as a “gigantic mess” during his Christmas mass on Sunday evening.

Like some fifteen embassies before him, the prelate called for “prudence and restraint” in a country with a troubled political history, often marked by violence, whose subsoil is immensely rich in minerals but whose population is predominantly poor.