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Democratic Rep of Congo: Oppn leader wins election, to end 18-year-rule of Kabila

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Kinshasa, Jan 10: The south-central African country of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) went to the presidential election on December 30, two years after it was scheduled, and on Thursday (January 10), the country's electoral commission declared Opposition candidate Felix Tsisekedi as the winner.

Democratic Rep of Congo: Oppn leader wins election, to end 18-year-rule of Kabila

The result could see the country, the 11th largest and 16th populous in the world, having its maiden democratic transfer of power since its independence from Belgium in 1960. The current president of the DRC, Josesph Kabila, has been in power since 2001 when he succeeded his father Laurent-Desire Kabila following his assassination.

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Fifty-five-year-old Tshisekedi became the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS as per the local name), a major Opposition party, after his father and the founder of the party Etienne died in February 2017. Tshisekedi had a Balgian diploma in marketing and communication though he has never held any high office.

The DRC's election commission said the UDPS leader won the election with over 38 per cent of the total ballots cast (over 18 million). The commission said the winning candidate received over seven million votes while his opponents Martin Fayulu received about 6.4 million and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, backed by Kabila, received about 4.4 million.

The result could fuel the speculation that Tshisekedi struck a power-sharing pact with the outgoing president though the UDPS camp has denied it.

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