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DR Congo’s shock vote result goes to Constitutional Court

Bishop Marcel Utembi, head of the Catholic church’s conference of bishops, urged the Security Council to ask CENI to release the records of vote-counting at polling stations to allow for verification.

But Russia and China said the UN should stay out of the dispute. Russia said the UN should focus on DRC’s stability and the need for a peaceful handover, while China called for “full respect” of CENI’s authority.

– Tshisekedi-Kabila deal? –

Analysts said it was likely Kabila, 47, had sought to avoid a backlash and international condemnation if Shadary had been declared winner.

He therefore struck a deal with Tshisekedi, head of the country’s oldest and biggest opposition party, according to this scenario.

As a quid pro quo, some commentators suggested, Kabila would gain immunity from prosecution for his iron-fisted 18-year rule, and protection from assets seizure.

Thursday’s pre-dawn announcement brought thousands of Tshisekedi supporters onto the streets in celebration, while others who had backed Fayulu came out to protest.

The authorities late Friday imposed an 8pm-5am curfew in Kikwit, a Fayulu stronghold in the west of the country, city mayor Leonard Mutangu told AFP.

Five civilians were killed there on Thursday in a police operation to curb post-election violence, said National Police spokesman Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu.

Seventeen police were injured, he said, denying earlier reports of police fatalities. A relay station of the national radio and television broadcaster, RTNC, was also ransacked, he added.

In the eastern city of Goma, at least one person was killed, officials said.

In Mbandaka, capital of the northwestern province of Equateur, a Fayulu aide was arrested for calling on supporters to vandalise a vote collection centre and seize records of the ballot count, Mwanamputu said.

She was named as Wina Lokondo, a coordinator of Fayulu’s Lamuka coalition, who was arrested with three associates.

CENI has still to announce the result of legislative elections which also took place on December 30, with more than 15,000 candidates in the running.

The result will determine who will hold a majority in the 500-seat parliament for the next five years.

The outgoing National Assembly, which took office in 2011, is dominated by Kabila supporters who have already claimed to have won a majority.

DRC is a giant, straddling central Africa over an area the size of continental western Europe.

Rich in minerals but mired in poverty, the country has suffered two major wars in the past 22 years, as well as bloodshed in elections in 2006 and 2011 that saw Kabila returned to office.

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