DR Congo court to rule on disputed poll, snubbing African Union

DR Congo court to rule on disputed poll, snubbing African Union

SYMOCEL also said that the commission had relied on results taken from voting machines with USB sticks rather than hand-counted tallies in legislative and provincial assembly elections held the same day, in violation of electoral law.

Earlier this month, Congo's electoral commission declared Felix Tshisekedi, a candidate from the largest opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, a victor despite calls from western observers and the African Union to postpone the publication of the results, citing "serious doubts" about their validity.

The logic of a power-sharing deal rests on the assumption that Tshisekedi would be less threatening to Kabila as president than Fayulu, a former Exxon executive who has spoken forcefully about cleaning up corruption. Fayulu, leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party, was a joint candidate chosen by seven oppositional leaders in run-up to the election.

But the court said Fayulu did not put forward proof to back his claims.

The AU's statement said it would send a delegation to Congo to seek "a way out of the post-electoral crisis".

The court said Mr Fayulu had failed to prove that the election commission had announced false results. Neither side has acknowledged the accusations.

"It is Congo that won", he said, speaking to his supporters. His supporters who had gathered outside the court cheered.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame - the chair of the African Union which has said it has "serious concerns" about the vote and called for the results to be delayed - was due to arrive in Kinshasa with an AU delegation to discuss the crisis on Monday.

This was supposed to mark Congo's first smooth democratic transfer of power in 59 years of restive independence and the beginning of a new era following 18 years of rule by President Joseph Kabila. At least 34 people have been killed since provisional results were released on January 10, the United Nations said.

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According to the publication, their analysis of the two tallies "shows a near ideal correlation" of the official results and the church's partial results, supporting the church's stance that the results announced last week are not accurate.

There was no immediate reaction early on Sunday from Tshisekedi, who has said little publicly since the election, or Fayulu.

The court could have ordered a recount or ordered a new election.

Tshisekedi and Kabila's political parties refused to engage with leaked data from the election commission and the largest election observer mission, called Cenco, that showed Fayulu winning the December 30 election with around 60 percent of total votes.

"Accordingly, the Heads of State and Government called for the suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections", a communique read in part.

It called unfounded a challenge filed by another candidate, Theodore Ngoy, that objected to the electoral commission's last-minute decision to bar some 1 million voters from the election over a deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

Just hours before the court made its decision known, the Congolese government instructed telecom companies to reestablish Internet connections and text messaging services which had been blacked out for the past 20 days.

Mr Tshisekedi's party also rejected the African Union request. He called for people to mount peaceful demonstrations - though the streets of the capital were calm on Sunday afternoon.

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