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DR Congo runner-up to appeal to Constitutional Court

Provisional results released on Thursday declared Felix Tshisekedi victor with 38.57% of the vote, just ahead of Martin Fayulu with 34.8%.

Democratic Republic of Congo joint opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu (C) speaks on his mobile phone following his designation on 11 November, 2018 in Geneva. Picture: AFP

KINSHASA - The runner-up in DR Congo's presidential elections said Friday he would appeal to the Constitutional Court for a recount as his bloc claimed he won the poll with 61% of the vote.

"We will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday... (to demand) a recount of the vote," Martin Fayulu told a rally of his supporters.

Provisional results released on Thursday declared Felix Tshisekedi victor with 38.57% of the vote, just ahead of Fayulu with 34.8%.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate backed by outgoing President Joseph Kabila, came a distant third with 23.8%.

The declared result was a surprise to many.

The few pre-election opinion polls had shown Fayulu to be clear favourite while critics of Kabila predicted the outcome would be rigged in favour of Shadary.

Fayulu's bloc on Friday said he was the true victor, claiming he had garnered 61% of the vote.

Democratic Republic of Congo has been in the grip of two-year-old political turbulence, triggered by Kabila's refusal to step down when his two-term constitutional limit expired at the end of 2016.

Elections for his successor were delayed three times before finally taking place on 30 December.

Polling day unfolded relatively peacefully, but suspicions over the count have deepened.

The turbulence has darkened hopes that the country will have its first peaceful handover of power since it gained independence in 1960.

DRC is a giant, straddling central Africa over an area the size of continental western Europe.

Rich in minerals but mired in poverty, the country has suffered two major wars in the past 22 years, as well as bloodshed in elections in 2006 and 2011 that saw Kabila returned to office.

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