KINSHASA – Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi has won the presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s electoral commission said on Thursday.
Tshisekedi, of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, beat competition from another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, as well as Emmanuel Shadary from incumbent Joseph Kabila’s ruling coalition in elections held on Dec. 30.
“Mr. Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo elected President of the Democratic Republic of Congo!” the National Independent Electoral Commission said on Twitter.
Tshisekedi won 38 percent of the vote, according to provisional results, ahead of Fayulu’s 35 percent, while Shadary trailed in third with 24 percent.
Voter turnout was 47.56 percent of the country’s 18 million registered voters.
If the results, which can be appealed, are confirmed, Tshisekedi would become the first successful opposition candidate since the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960.
The son of former prime minister Etienne Tshisekedi, the 55-year-old broke away from opposition group Lamuka (meaning “Wake up” in Lingala), led by Fayulu, to form his own coalition in mid-November.
Election monitoring missions, including the influential National Episcopalian Conference, have appealed for calm and urged candidates to be “humble” following the results to avoid any violence.
Candidates have three days to appeal the outcome, with official results expected to be announced towards the end of next week.