Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi has won the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tightly contested presidential vote, the electoral commission says.
The result, which was announced in the early hours of Thursday, was rejected by rival Martin Fayulu, who was backed by opposition heavyweights and had led in polling prior to the December 30 vote.
Tshisekedi had won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast, Corneille Nangaa, head of the election commission said at about 3am (02:00 GMT) in a news conference that appeared timed to avoid any immediate reaction in the streets.
Tshisekedi received more than seven million votes, compared to about 6.4 million for Fayulu, who had warned against manipulation.
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the hand-picked candidate of long-time President Joseph Kabila was third with about 4.4 million votes.
Current President Joseph Kabila is stepping down after 18 years in office.
He had promised DR Congo’s first orderly transfer of power since the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960.
The full results were, with turnout reportedly 48%:
• Felix Tshisekedi – 7 million votes
• Martin Fayulu – 6.4 million votes
• Emmanuel Shadary – 4.4 million votes
Mr Fayulu, a former oil tycoon, dismissed the results as “a true electoral coup”, telling Radio France Internationale they had “nothing to do with the truth of the ballot box”.
Mr Tshisekedi, who is the son of late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, has promised to make the fight against poverty his priority.