Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was declared early Thursday morning the winner of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while disputes over the results emerged.

According to interim results proclaimed by the electoral commission, Tshisekedi, candidate of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), received more than 7 million votes across the country. Polls were not held in three cities for safety reasons.

Tshisekedi ran ahead of Martin Fayulu of the “Lamuka” coalition, and far ahead of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, candidate for the ruling coalition.

The runner-up Fayulu denounced the results as an “electoral coup”, saying they have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday questioned the results of the election and believed that Tshisekedi’s victory did not accord with what was seen on the ground.

The results also drew doubt from Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who said Belgium will raise the issue at United Nations (UN) Security Council.

However, Shadary, who came third in the results, has congratulated Tshisekedi via his spokeswoman.

The final results will be proclaimed in the coming days according to a new timetable after confirmation of these provisional results by the Constitutional Court in accordance with the DRC’s national law.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all stakeholders to refrain from violence, according to a statement released on the UN website late Wednesday in New York.

The UN chief called on related parties “to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms in line with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution and relevant electoral laws.”

Tshisekedi took over the UDPS presidency from his late father Etienne Tshisekedi, the first opposition leader in the DRC’s history.

The DRC held presidential elections on Dec. 30, 2018 and the results were scheduled to be announced on Jan. 6. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) put off announcing the results due to problems with collecting data. Enditem

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