Felix Tshisekedi has been declared the winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) long-delayed elections after electoral commission announced the results.
The result, which was announced in the early hours of Thursday, was rejected by rival Martin Fayulu, who was backed by opposition heavyweights and had led in polling prior to the December 30 vote.
Tshisekedi had won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast, Corneille Nangaa, head of the election commission said at about 3am (02:00 GMT) in a news conference that appeared timed to avoid any immediate reaction in the streets.
Tshisekedi received more than seven million votes, compared to about 6.4 million for Fayulu, who had warned against manipulation.
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the hand-picked candidate of long-time President Joseph Kabila was third with about 4.4 million votes.
The announcement came hours after riot police deployed at the commission’s headquarters in Kinshasa amid fears of violence due to a disputed result.
Election observers reported a number of irregularities during the vote and the opposition alleged it was marred by fraud.
The result could lead to the vast country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960, with Kabila due to leave office this month after 18 years in power – and two years after the official end of his mandate.