The Latest: Congo court rejects challenge to vote results

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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo’s presidential election (all times local):

5:20 a.m.

Congo’s President-elect Felix Tshisekedi said early Sunday that the Constitutional Court’s decision confirming him as the winner of the presidential election was a victory for the entire country.

“It is Congo that won,” said Tshisekedi, speaking to his supporters after the court decision. “It is not the victory of one camp against another. I am engaged in a campaign to reconcile all Congolese. … The Congo that we are going to form will not be a Congo of division, hatred or tribalism. It will be a reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace and security.”

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2:50 a.m.

The spokesman for Congo’s newly elected president says it’s “a shame” that the runner-up has defiantly declared himself the country’s only legitimate leader.

Vidiye Tshimanga tells The Associated Press that winner Felix Tshisekedi and runner-up Martin Fayulu once had been part of an opposition coalition demanding that President Joseph Kabila step down.

Tshimanga says new president will need everyone for the reconstruction of the country, as the Congolese people have “suffered a lot in recent years.”

“It’s a pity to have this attitude but I can understand,” Tshimanga said. “It would have been desirable for all political forces to hold hands to build and move forward. It’s a shame that Mr. Fayulu wants to stay isolated.”

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2:25 a.m.

Congo’s election runner-up Martin Fayulu is calling on the international community and the Congolese people to not recognize or obey the newly elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, calling himself the country’s only legitimate leader.

Fayulu’s statement was issued minutes after the Constitutional Court rejected his challenges to the Dec. 30 vote and confirmed that Tshisekedi won.

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Congo’s government says Tshisekedi’s inauguration is on Tuesday.

Fayulu’s statement urges the Congolese people to not recognize anyone who “illegitimately claims” to be president. He has urged nationwide protests against what he calls a constitutional coup d’etat.”

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2:10 a.m.

Congo’s election runner-up Martin Fayulu is urging nationwide protests after the Constitutional Court rejected his challenges to the vote and confirmed that Felix Tshisekedi won.

Fayulu says he considers himself Congo’s only legitimate president.

He says that “the constitutional court has just confirmed that it serves a dictatorial regime.” He says the court validated false results in a “constitutional coup d’etat.”

Fayulu had accused Congo’s electoral commission of announcing results dramatically different from ones posted at polling stations around the country. But the court said he did not put forward proof to back his claims.

Congo’s government says Tshisekedi’s inauguration is on Tuesday.

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1:20 a.m.

Congo’s Constitutional Court has declared that Felix Tshisekedi is elected president after it rejected challenges to the vote by the runner-up, Martin Fayulu.

The declaration came minutes after it turned away Fayulu’s request for a recount in the Dec. 30 vote.

Fayulu had accused Congo’s electoral commission of announcing results dramatically different from ones posted at polling stations around the country. Leaked data attributed to the commission shows that Fayulu easily won.

But the court said Fayulu did not put forward proof to back his claims.

The court’s ruling comes shortly after the African Union in an unprecedented move asked Congo to delay announcing the final election results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote. It planned to send a high-level delegation on Monday to find a way out of the electoral crisis, fearing unrest.

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12:45 a.m.

Congo’s Constitutional Court has rejected a challenge to the presidential election results filed by declared runner-up Martin Fayulu.

Fayulu had requested a recount, accusing Congo’s electoral commission of announcing results dramatically different from ones posted at polling stations around the country. Leaked data attributed to the commission shows that Fayulu easily won the Dec. 30 vote over the declared winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.

The court ruling comes after the African Union in an unprecedented move asked Congo to delay announcing the final election results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote.

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10:10 p.m.

People inside Congo say internet service has returned, 20 days after it was cut off following the elections.

Internet service in Congo had been blocked since Dec. 31 in a likely attempt to dampen speculation about the presidential election results. The Constitutional Court is poised to rule on a challenge to the results filed by declared runner-up Martin Fayulu, who alleges fraud.

The U.S. ambassador to Congo, Mike Hammer, tweeted earlier Saturday saying 20 days without internet in the country are “20 days too many” and that access “needs to be restored now.”

British Ambassador John Murton also had been tweeting regular reminders of the shutdown.

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3:50 p.m.

The party behind the declared winner of Congo’s presidential election is rejecting the African Union’s surprise request to delay announcing the final results amid “serious doubts” about the vote.

The secretary-general of Felix Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress party accuses mining lobbyists of seeking to destabilize Congo and loot the mineral-rich country.

Jean-Marc Kabund’s statement comes as Congo’s Constitutional Court is poised to rule on the declared runner-up’s challenge to the election results, alleging fraud. Kabund’s UDPS party calls on the Congolese people to unite and defend the country’s sovereignty.

Hundreds of Tshisekedi’s supporters are in the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, waving tree branches and banners reading “Congo for the Congolese.”

Runner-up Martin Fayulu seeks a recount in the Dec. 30 vote.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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