Opposition Leader Felix Tshisekedi Has Won the DRC Elections
After delayed results and international pressure, the election results have finally been announced.
Celebrations abound in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country finally bids farewell to Joseph Kabila's 17-year rule, and welcomes opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP) political party. The election results were the subject of what were thought to be delay tactics, and were finally released in the early hours of the morning following mounting international pressure.
News of the opposition's win comes as a tremendous victory after the UDSP attempted for decades, without success, to come into power. According to News24, Tshisekedi received over 7 million votes, approximately 38% of the vote.
Speaking on his win, Tshisekedi said:
"I pay tribute to President Kabila and today we should no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, a partner in democratic change in our country."
The road to these elections, however, has been marred with violence and the loss of many lives. Almost 70% of the voting machines in the capital city Kinshasa were destroyed in a fire just 10 days before the elections were to be held. It was also feared that Kabila would ensure that his personal favorite Emmanuel Ramazani Shadarywould succeed him.
Shortly after the voting occurred, the Internet was shut down by the government in what they believed would thwart any attempts to prematurely spread the unofficial results of the election. Following the delay in the announcing of the results, security was tightened due to concerns of the outbreak of violence.
This is the DRC's first peaceful democratic transition of power since its independence in 1960.