Congo’s constitutional court on Sunday dismissed a challenge from another opposition leader and confirmed Felix Tshisekedi’s presidential election win.
Second-placed Martin Fayulu had rejected the provisional tally for Democratic Republic of Congo’s election released last week, saying it was the product of a secret deal between Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila to cheat him out of a clear win of more than 60 percent.
Kabila and Tshisekedi’s camps denied making any deal.
The provisional results in the poll, which was meant to enable Congo’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence from Belgium, showed Tshisekedi winning with a slim margin over Fayulu. Kabila’s favored candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary came in a distant third.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said by telephone that the ruling party had “taken note” of the court decision.
“Felix Tshisekedi will become the fifth president of the republic,” Mende said.
Reuters reports that the ruling was unlikely to silence critics as Congo’s constitutional court is widely seen as beholden to Kabila, who has been in power since his father was assassinated in 2001. It may also worsen the sporadic unrest that has already seen 34 people killed, 59 wounded and 241 “arbitrary arrests” in the past week, according to the U.N. human rights office.
Meanwhile, in a move that could spark further unrest, Martin Fayulu has rejected the court ruling and declared himself president .
“The constitutional court has just confirmed that it serves a dictatorial regime … by validating false results, (and enabling) a constitutional coup d’etat,” he said in a statement.