The European Union was cautious when commenting on the outcome of DR Congo’s presidential elections last week. Many EU leaders chose not to congratulate the winner and called on all the parties to solve the issues peacefully. While the EU said it was waiting for the official results, Paris challenged the polling numbers when Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that “it really seems that the declared results… are not consistent with the true results.”
Provisional results declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner but his rival, the runner-up, Martin Fayulu, immediately described the results “an electoral coup” and filed a court challenge demanding a manual recount of the results in all three of Congo’s 30 December 2018 elections: presidential, legislative and provincial. “You can’t manufacture results behind closed doors,” he commented.
The Independent National Election Commission (CENI) announced the results, giving 38.57% to Mr. Tshisekedi and 34.8% to Mr. Fayulu. The current president’s preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, came third with 23.8%. Martin Fayulu’s coalition asserts that he won 61 percent of the presidential vote, with 18 percent for Mr. Tshisekedi – the number he attributes to the Catholic Church’s 40,000 election observers across the country.
UN Secretary General António Guterres urged all sides “to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms” and African Union leader Moussa Faki commented in a similar vein by stressing that “it is important that any disagreement over the proclaimed results, notably that they did not reflect voters’ wishes, be resolved peacefully, by turning to the relevant laws and through political dialogue between the parties involved.”