DR Congo: South African, Zambian presidents urge 'speedy' election results

Counting the votes in DR Congo Africa's second largest country has been a mamoth task

Cape Town - The Congolese People's Organisation in South Africa fears that chaos could erupt in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the country's electoral commission declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the victor.

The announcement of DRC's 30 December election results will likely be delayed to March or April (while four excluded localities vote), effectively extending the administration of incumbent President Joseph Kabila through this period.

Rival opposition leader Martin Fayulu immediately disputed Tshisekedi's victory, calling it "an unacceptable electoral fraud".

Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu has urged the electoral commission to announce the true results as quickly as possible and warned it not to "play with fire, it is very risky".

Shouts of joy erupted at the commission's offices as the results were announced early Thursday morning, AFP journalists reported.

In a conference last week, the Church's bishops said that it knew the identity of the victor and demanded that CENI publish accurate results. Fayulu received more than 6 million votes, or 34 percent. CENI has come under pressure from the DRC Catholic Church's National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (Conférence Épiscopale Nationale du Congo: CENCO), which mounted its own 40,000-strong electoral observer mission and parallel vote tabulation operation. If confirmed, Tshisekedi will be the first opposition challenger to win since the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960, BBC News reports.

Candidates can appeal results if they wish and the final decision will be announced by the constitutional court.

He also told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that Kabila could be honoured for ushering in a peaceful transition.

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The country is in flux over a thrice-delayed presidential vote, with the announcement of official results now postponed, stoking suspicions of rigging.

Tshisekedi "is provisionally proclaimed elected as president", CENI President Corneille Nangaa said. Activist groups urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if results don't match "the truth of the ballot boxes".

A local observer group said it had witnessed "major" irregularities at counting stations.

Early Thursday, the electoral commission announced that Tshisekedi had won.

An al-Jazeera journalist is circumspect about whether the results will be announced then. Anti-riot police with water cannon are outside the building.

After several days of intense speculation on the outcome of the DRC's presidential elections, the country's election board, CENI, proclaimed Felix Tshisekedi the victor.

Some Congolese tired of Kabila's long rule, two turbulent years of election delays and years of conflict that killed millions of people said they simply wanted peace.

The vast, mineral-rich Central African country is choosing a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001. "The figures compiled by the Catholic Church showed that Fayulu won an absolute majority of the votes", the AP says, citing "several diplomats briefed on the matter".

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