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Jan 23, 2019 | Congo

US recognizes Tshisekedi after controversial DR Congo vote

By AFP
Supporters of rival Martin Fayulu protest a court's decision to validate the election of Felix Tshisekedi as the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  By John WESSELS (AFP)
Supporters of rival Martin Fayulu protest a court's decision to validate the election of Felix Tshisekedi as the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. By John WESSELS (AFP)

The United States on Wednesday recognized Felix Tshisekedi as the next president of DR Congo, casting aside concerns over the election as it hailed a historic peaceful transfer of power.

The United States joins the African Union and European Union in signaling they were ready to work with Tshisekedi, showing no appetite to prolong uncertainties in the violence-prone country despite rival Martin Fayulu's allegations of widespread fraud.

"The United States welcomes the Congolese Constitutional Court's certification of Felix Tshisekedi as the next president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement a day before the former opposition leader is set to be inaugurated.

"We are committed to working with the new DRC government. We encourage the government to include a broad representation of Congo's political stakeholders and to address reports of electoral irregularities," he said.

The US also hailed outgoing president Joseph Kabila for peacefully ceding power, a first in DR Congo since its 1960 independence from Belgium, although Kabila stayed beyond his term.

"The United States salutes the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for their insistence on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power," Palladino added.

The US had earlier acknowledged concerns about the polls and called for transparency as the Constitutional Court heard the challenge by Fayulu, a former oil executive who alleges that he received 61 percent of the vote and accuses Tshisekedi of plotting an "electoral coup" with Kabila.

The EU had earlier said that "doubts remain" after the top court on Sunday declared Tshisekedi the next president.

But regional power South Africa set the tone soon after the court decision by urging all sides to accept the finality of Tshisekedi's win and to "move on to consolidate democracy and preserve peace, stability and security."

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