Joseph Kabila wins Congo election

 

Congo's President Joseph Kabila has won another term in office with 49% of the 18.14 million votes cast according to provisional results published by Congo's election commission.

Long-time opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi trailed with 32% of the vote, according to the final tallies released by election commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda.

Tshisekedi's supporters vowed to take to the streets if Kabila was declared the winner.

But Mulunda warned before reading the final results: "The candidates must understand that in every election there is a winner and there is one or several losers."

In the tightly controlled pro-Kabila neighbourhood in Kinshasa near the election commission, people hung out of balconies cheering after the results were released. A woman danced in the street.

Police in riot gear in trucks stood at attention.

Although international observers said the vote was flawed, they have stopped short of calling it fraudulent.

Most say irregularities were not widespread enough to have caused a change in outcome. However, the perception among opposition supporters is that Tshisekedi won, setting the stage for a confrontation.

Some residents have left the country, fearing violence. Election violence has already left at least 18 dead and more than 100 wounded, with most of the deaths caused by troops loyal to Kabila, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

This was only the second democratic election in Congo's 51-year history, and the first to be organised entirely by the government instead of by the international community.

Kabila, a former rebel leader, first took control of the country a decade ago, after the 2001 assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who ruled Congo after overthrowing dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997.

Kabila was then elected president in 2006, a vote which was overseen and organised by the UN.

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