With Democratic Republic of Congo still reeling from the disputed victory of opposition challenger Felix Tshisekedi, the nation’s attention turned Friday to the results of the legislative elections to see who will control parliament for the next five years.

In a country that has never known a peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, Thursday’s announcement that an opposition candidate had won the December race to replace President Joseph Kabila was a historic first.

But the legitimacy of Tshisekedi’s victory was immediately called into question, with his opposition rival Martin Fayulu, who came close second, dismissing the result out of hand as an “electoral coup”.

And the powerful Roman Catholic Church also said the outcome of the troubled December 30 vote did not tally with data its own observers collected, raising serious questions about the credibility of figures released by the CENI election commission.

Analysts said it was likely Kabila had struck a deal with 55-year-old opposition chief to avoid a violent backlash and the international condemnation that would have followed if his handpicked-successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary had been named.

The provisional results declared Tshisekedi victor with 38.57% of the vote, just ahead of Fayulu with 34.8%. Shadary came in distant third with 23.8%.

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