US wants ‘clarification’ on DR Congo vote results, urges calm

Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was named provisional winner of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, celebrate in the capital Kinshasa (AFP Photo)
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The United States on Thursday demanded “clarification” over the result of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s much-troubled election, stopping short of recognizing the declared winner.

In its statement, the US congratulated “courageous” Congolese voters who turned out for last month’s election, which had been plagued by two years of delays.

But it did not acknowledge opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, who was given 38.57 percent of the vote by DRC’s electoral commission.

“The National Independent Electoral Commission has announced provisional results, but we await clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count… We urge all stakeholders to remain calm as the process continues,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Runner-up and opposition rival Martin Fayulu, who was awarded 34.8 percent of the vote, immediately called foul on the result, decrying “an electoral coup.”

Meanwhile, the influential Catholic Church questioned the result — clouding the vote’s legitimacy and hopes of peace.

But Palladino also noted the “importance of President Joseph Kabila’s decision to abide by his constitutionally mandated term limits and transfer power to a successor.”

Kabila had been due to step down two years ago but held on to power, sparking a political crisis and protests that were bloodily repressed.

The announcement of an opposition win was a shock as many had expected the results to be stacked in favor of Kabila’s preferred successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. He came a distant third with 23.8 percent of the vote.

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