The runner-up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s presidential election has rejected the result as an “electoral coup” and called on his followers to resist “a grave attack on the country’s dignity”, as the Catholic church said official results did not reflect polling station data.
Martin Fayulu was beaten to second place by another opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, who was declared the surprise winner of the 30 December presidential election in the early hours of Thursday.
The Guardian view on the DRC election: a very unlikely result
The result theoretically means the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC, but was deeply controversial because Fayulu had held a healthy lead in pre-election polling.
It has also surprised some observers who believed authorities would ensure victory for the government candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who was handpicked by the outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, as his successor.
Senior church leaders made clear that the announced results did not correspond with data collected by 40,000 observers the church deployed on polling day 12 days ago.
The church has refused to say publicly who won according to its findings, but diplomats briefed on the church data say it indicated a clear victory for Fayulu, in line with pre-election polls that had put him at least 20 points ahead of Tshisekedi.theguardian