Incumbent Joseph Kabila officially won the presidency in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, but then his closest rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, rejected the results and proclaimed himself president. It's part of a chain of events that could well lead to exacerbated violence after police already clashed with opposition supporters this week. The New York Times points out that Tshisekedi, who lost to Kabila by 15 percentage points, started signaling early on that he wasn't happy with the already-delayed election result. Later on Friday he went past the "veiled warnings that he might call out his followers — he calls them his 'fighters' — into the streets, to contest the election," as reported in The Times, and simply declared himself president. Al Jazeera reports on Tshisekedi's statement to Agence France-Presse:
"I consider this [result] declaration a outirght provocation to our people and I reject it in full. As a result, I consider myself from this day on as the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo," the statement read.
He called on the international community to "find a solution to this problem [and to] take all possible measures so that the blood of the Congolese people is not spilled again".
To his supporters, whom he calls "fighters", he said: "I urge you to stick together as one man behind me to face the events that will follow."
This week's violence as the results were delayed several times has already increased the tension around this election. If things were tense before, the outright rejection of the country's electoral process by a candidate does not seem like it's going to calm the situation at all.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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