Congolese presidential candidate Martin Fayulu plans to demand a recount of election results that showed him losing to fellow opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.
Speaking Friday by phone to Eddy Isango of VOA’s French to Africa service, Fayulu said he will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday and ask judges to order the recount.
“We ask for a manual recount, polling station by polling station, before the CENI, before the African Union, before the United Nations, and in front of everyone else … so that everyone can see what the Congolese people achieved on December 30, 2018,” Fayulu said.
The commission said Thursday that Tshisekedi, the son of a longtime opposition leader, won the presidential election by more than 600,000 votes over Fayulu.
However, Fayulu’s campaign says it has tallies showing he won the election with 61 percent of the vote.
The Catholic Church and foreign diplomats have also questioned the outcome of the poll. The church said Thursday that the official figures do not correspond to vote tallies collected by its 40,000 election observers around the country.
UN Security Council discusses vote
VOA United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer reports the U.N. Security Council held a meeting in New York Friday to discuss the Congolese election.
The head of the election commission, Corneille Nangaa, told the council via satellite that Congo has two options: accept the results or nullify the election. He said if the vote is nullified, the country would not have a new president until new elections are organized.
Current President Joseph Kabila has already remained in office two years past the end of his mandate. He was set to step down this month after 18 years in power, once a new president was elected.
In the election, Kabila backed his former interior minister, Emmanuel Shadary, who finished a distant third. Supporters of Fayulu — a businessman backed by a coalition of opposition parties — have accused Kabila of making a deal with the electoral commission to deny their candidate the presidency, and in order to retain influence in the next administration.
The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it is important that President Kabila sticks to his decision to abide by term limits and transfer power to a successor. The statement from deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said the U.S. is awaiting “clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo has never experienced a peaceful transfer of power since winning independence from Belgium in 1960.
Eddy Isango of VOA’s French to Africa Service and VOA correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this story.