The Latest: Congo court declares Tshisekedi is president

January 19, 2019 - 7:19 pm

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

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.

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