DR Congo's powerful Catholic Church challenges official election result

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Why is France having a say in the elections of DR Congo?

Supporters of Congo's president-elect celebrated an unlikely win on Thursday, but the runner-up denounced a fix and France, Belgium and the Catholic Church all cast doubt on the results.

The country is in flux over a thrice-delayed presidential vote, with the announcement of official results now postponed, stoking suspicions of rigging.

But Martin Fayulu alleged the results had been rigged, saying outgoing President Joseph Kabila made a backroom deal with Mr Tshisekedi.

Fayulu said the Congolese people were being cheated and called on people to push for his victory.

Fayulu urged the Catholic Church to release the results from its team of 40,000 observers who recorded voting tallies posted at each of the polling centers. The Church said its vote count showed a different victor but did not specify which candidate, Reuters reports.

These showed Fayulu winning, according to three diplomats briefed on the findings.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tshisekedi's victory contrasted with observations in the field.

Fayulu is backed by former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi, considered a traitor by Kabila, and ex-warlord and former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Spokesmen for Shadary and the other top opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, have indicated that their candidates won.

DR Congo's powerful Catholic Church says election results tallied by its observers do not match official results announced on Thursday by the country's election commission, which named Felix Tshisekedi as the surprise victor.

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With 7 million votes, or 38 percent, Tshisekedi outpaced Fayulu, another opposition frontrunner, who came in second with more than 6 million votes.

Earlier Thursday the country's electoral commission presented a delayed provisional count, naming Tshisekedi the victor with 38.57 per cent of the vote.

It is not immediately clear if Mr Fayulu, who led in polling and warned against electoral manipulation, will contest the results.

It also remains to be seen whether Tshisekedi has the intention or the capacity to challenge Kabila's strong hold over intelligence services, security services and key ministries in the country, CBS News' Patta said.

"On the face of it, Mr Fayulu was the leader coming out of these elections", he said.

The announcement of an opposition win was a shock as many had expected the results to be stacked in Shadary's favour, prompting heavy global pressure on Kinshasa to respect the wishes of the electorate.

After an election that went ahead relatively peacefully, the outcome marks the first time in DRC's history since independence in 1960 that power will change hands through an electoral process.

Defiantly, tens of thousands of voters in one of the barred communities held their own ballot on election day.

"Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission", Mr. Besseling told AFP.

The latest developments add to a broader snapshot of disarray and questionable practices in the long-overdue vote to succeed President Joseph Kabila. "This is the beginning of national reconciliation".

Some Congolese have said Tshisekedi lost support by splitting the opposition.