- The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s constitutional court upheld Tuesday the results of last month’s presidential election.
- Incumbent Felix Tshisekedi’s controversial victory was once again confirmed as the court rejected a petition by a challenger to annul the vote.
- About 18 million Congolese voters cast their ballots in the election.
Congo’s constitutional court on Tuesday upheld the results of last month’s election that declared President Felix Tshisekedi the winner, rejecting a petition by an opposition candidate to annul the vote.
“Mr. Tshisekedi Tshilombo Felix Antoine has been elected president of (Congo) by a majority of votes cast,” said Judge Kamuleta Badibanga Dieudonne, president of the constitutional court.
The court called a petition by opposition candidate Theodore Ngoy to redo the vote unfounded. Ngoy, who finished with less than 1% of the vote, was the only candidate to file an appeal.
Tshisekedi will be sworn in at the end of January.
About 18 million people cast ballots in the election, which had a turnout of more than 40%, according to the election commission.
Tshisekedi won reelection with more than 70% of the vote as opposition candidates and their supporters questioned the validity of the results.
The vote was mired with logistical problems. Many polling stations were late in opening or didn’t open at all. Some lacked materials, and many voter cards had smudged ink that made them illegible.
Congo has a history of disputed elections that can turn violent, and there’s little confidence among many Congolese in the country’s institutions. Before the results were announced last month, opposition candidates, including frontrunner Moise Katumbi, said they rejected the results and called on the population to mobilize.
In a statement earlier this month Katumbi accused the electoral commission of planning chaos in order to keep the regime in power and called on the head of the commission to resign.
“His resignation is not negotiable for, more than anyone else, he has mismanaged the all electoral process which ended up being nothing but a sham of elections,” said Katumbi.
Neither he or other opposition candidates filed an appeal with the constitutional court, saying they didn’t believe it would rule independently.