BEIJING – China recognized on Monday Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi’s win in the presidential elections held in December, whose results were upheld by the country’s constitutional court at the weekend.
“We respect the choice made by the people and we congratulate the newly elected president,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference.
“We also hope all parties outside the country can create enabling conditions for the peace, stability and development of that country,” she added.
The polls on Dec. 30 put an end to two years of delays and uncertainty in the Democratic Republic of Congo since President Joseph Kabila, who had been in power since the death of his father, Laurent, in 2001, ended his second and last term in December 2016 and was barred by the country’s constitution from running for a third consecutive term.
According to the provisional results published by the national electoral commission on Jan. 10 and upheld on Sunday by the Constitutional Court, Tshisekedi won the elections with 38.57 percent of the votes, followed by opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who obtained 34.86 percent of the votes.
Fayalu had filed an appeal in the court against the results and called for a new, manual recount, claiming that he had won 61 percent of the votes, an argument which the court dismissed due to lack of evidence.
China’s backing is important for the political process in the Central African nation as the Asian country is Congo’s main trading partner, both in terms of exports as well as imports, according to data compiled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.