Kinshasa – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission on Monday released further early results of the presidential election, suggesting a strong lead for incumbent leader Felix Tshisekedi.
The results announced by Ceni so far account for nearly 1.9 million ballots, out of a total of around 44 million registered voters in the vast central African country the size of continental western Europe and with a population of more than 100 million.
Ceni said 60-year-old Tshisekedi, in power since 2019 and seeking a second five-year term, was leading with more than 81 percent of the vote.
Following was business magnate and former Katanga provincial governor Moise Katumbi, 58, with just over 15 percent of the vote and ex-oil executive Martin Fayulu, 67, at just over one percent.
The other nearly 20 opponents, including 68-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege, failed to gather one percent.
Ceni has not established turnout rates of the December 20 and 21 polls but has still been gradually releasing the results since Friday, which include legislative, provincial and local elections.
The polls were supposed to open only Wednesday but were extended due to a range of logistical problems.
Opposition candidates denounced the “chaos” and “irregularities” that they claimed marred the vote.
Some are planning demonstrations for next Wednesday, while others are calling for the election to be cancelled outright.
The Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, called the elections a “gigantic disorder” during his Christmas mass Sunday.
Like more than a dozen embassies before him, the cardinal called for “caution and restraint”, in the poor yet mineral-rich country with a long history of authoritarian rule and conflict.
In addition to opponents’ suspicions of the electoral process, the campaign has been marred by the conflict-torn east, which has seen a spike in tensions over the past two years with the resurgence of the M23 rebels, allegedly supported by Rwanda.
Kigali denies the allegations.
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