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Congo declares Felix Tshisekedi winner of presidential poll

KINSHASA, Congo — Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has been declared winner of the long-delayed, disorganized and controversial presidential election, in an announcement by the electoral commission early Thursday that surprised many, as the vast country braced for possible protests over alleged rigging.

Tshisekedi, who received more than 7 million votes, or 38 percent, according to the official results, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested. The son of late opposition leader Etienne, who pursued Congo’s presidency for many years, he startled Congolese shortly before the election by breaking away from an opposition effort to unite behind a single candidate.

Tshisekedi’s victory was quickly denounced by opposition leader Martin Fayulu, who claimed the results were rigged. Fayulu denounced the results as an “electoral hold up” and urged protests.