The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled early Sunday on the results of the country’s highly contested election, determining that the opposition candidate Félix Tshisekedi was in fact the winner and rejecting a challenge from another opposition figure who was the runner-up. The court’s decision affirmed the results announced by the country’s electoral commission, which appointed Mr. Tshisekedi as the president-elect. He is set to be inaugurated on Tuesday. Martin Fayulu, the runner-up, was contesting the results and demanding a manual recount. The judges of the constitutional court said they had determined that the request for a recount was “absurd” and that Mr. Fayulu had not provided any proof of fraud. Mr. Fayulu said early Sunday that the court has “falsified and countered the truth of the polls to serve an unjust cause and perpetuate a regime that our people hate.” “I now consider myself the only legitimate president,” he added.
Congo went to the polls in December in what was intended to be the country’s first democratic handover of power in the 59 years since it gained independence from Belgium. For the past 21 years, the country has been led by the Kabila family, first by Laurent-Désiré Kabila and then by his son Joseph Kabila.
But challenges were filed to the court, including by Mr. Fayulu, who said the result was announced only after Mr. Tshisekedi and Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president, came to a power-sharing agreement. The two have denied any such deal.