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Congo Supreme Court Certifies Kabila Victory

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VOA News - November 27, 2006

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The Supreme Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has certified the victory of incumbent President Joseph Kabila in October elections. His rival in the second round of voting, former Uganda-backed rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, had mounted a legal challenge to final results, saying there was fraud. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from Dakar.

President Joseph Kabila speaks at signing of accord between his party, AMP (Alliance for the Presidential Majority), and UDEMO party (Union of Democratic Mobutuists)
Joseph Kabila
The court Monday rejected the eight-point complaint filed by Mr. Bemba, and then certified results giving Mr. Kabila victory with 58 percent of the vote, compared with Mr. Bemba's 42 percent.

The announcement took place at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, after a fire during a protest last week burned down part of the Supreme Court offices.

Officials from Mr. Bemba's camp were not immediately available for comment, and had scheduled meetings to decide what their next step should be, amid heightened security in Kinshasa.

Mr. Kabila is the 35-year-old son of a slain coup leader. He took power after his father's assassination in 2001.

He helped push forward peace deals ending Congo's war, which had involved armies from half a dozen neighboring countries.

Despite the presence of U.N. and European troops, clashes broke out repeatedly during the election process, involving supporters of Mr. Bemba, his private security guard, the presidential guard and government security forces.

A resident in Kinshasa says there are fears violence could break out again, if Mr. Bemba's armed supporters do not respect a recent ultimatum to leave Kinshasa.

He said, "This is the fear, that, if they resist, maybe Kinshasa will be again in trouble, and we will be again facing gunshots, and there may be people who can be killed again."

"This is the fear that we have. We people are living here on a daily basis. We do not need war or conflict here in the capital, " he added.

International observer groups have said there were irregularities during the second round of voting, but committed by both sides, and not enough to affect the overall outcome.


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