The runner-up in Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential vote dismissed results announced by the election commission on Thursday as “a true electoral coup”.

“The results have nothing to do with the truth of the ballot box,” opposition candidate Martin Fayulu said in an interview with Radio France Internationale and called on observers of the December 30 vote to publish the real results.

According to the commission’s results, another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, won the election with over 38% of the vote.

Tshisekedi had received more than 7 million votes, compared to about 6.4 million for Fayulu and about 4.4 million for Kabila’s hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The result is certain to fuel further suspicion that Tshisekedi, who the last opinion polls before the election showed running well behind Fayulu, struck a power-sharing pact with Kabila.

Tshisekedi’s camp has acknowledged contacts since the vote with Kabila’s representatives but denies there has been any kind of deal.

Losing candidates, including Fayulu and Shadary, can contest the results before Congo’s constitutional court, which has 10 days to hear and rule on any challenges.

The Church’s bishops conference said last week that it knew the identity of the winner and demanded that CENI publish accurate results. The Church did not say who it thought the winner was, but briefed diplomats on its conclusions.

More than one million people were kept from voting on election day on December 30 because of an Ebola outbreak and militia violence in opposition strongholds mainly in the east of the country.

Observers said many polling stations opened late and closed early and in some places voting machines malfunctioned.

Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, had wanted to hand over power to Shadary, his former interior minister, when he stands down this month after 18 years in power.

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