Congolese opposition leader Martin Fayulu has accused fellow opposition challenger Felix Tshisekedi of negotiating a backroom deal with President Joseph Kabila over the elections results. Tshisekedi was declared winner of the controversial polls by the electoral commission with more than 38 per cent of the vote.
"In 2006, they stole Jean-Pierre Bemba's victory, in 2011, they stole Etienne Tshisekedi's victory and now they can't steal the victory of the people," Fayulu told RFI's service Afrique on Thursday. "The people made a choice and they must respect that choice.
"These people have negotiated with Kabila so that he can stay in power. It's Kabila who'll manage things, these people have no power."
Tshisekedi secured more than 7 million votes, according to the announcement of results by the electoral commission. Fayulu took 6.4 million votes and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate of the ruling party, came in third with 4.4 million votes.
'No longer adversaries'
The declared winner told his supporters that Kabila should no longer been seen as a rival. "I pay tribute to President Joseph Kabila," Tshisekedi told his supporters outside the headquarters of his Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party in Kinshasa.
"We should no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, a partner in democratic change in our country," said Tshisekedi, according to the AFP news agency.
Tshisekedi's running mate Vital Kamerhe, head of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), told RFI that there was "no deal" between the opposition coalition of Tshisekedi and the pro-Kabila Common Front for Congo (FCC) party.
Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said he was surprised by the performance of Shadary, the ruling party's candidate. The work of the electoral commission must be respected, he said, but he did not know whether the FCC were planning to file a complaint against the results.
France calls for clarity
The French government took a strong stance on the publication of results that conform to the reality of the polls.
"The Episcopal Conference of the Congo carried out verification and announced results that are totally different," said French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
"Luckily, the elections took place, they were held in peaceful conditions - that's a good thing. Although it appears that the proclaimed results, where Tshisekedi is declared winner, don't conform to the results that we have observed," Le Drian told CNews in an interview on Thursday morning.
The Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) played a key role in helping to bring about the holding of elections and is widely seen as having had the largest group of some 40,000 observers monitoring the polls. It previously said its unofficial tallies had revealed the winner of the polls.
CENCO has yet to make an official announcement about its results, but it is expected to hold a press conference at 12:30 and to prepare a briefing for the UN Security Council which will meet on Friday.
"A backroom deal that goes against the actual election results would be non-democratic," said Sasha Lezhnev, deputy director of policy at the Enough Project, a US-based non-governmental organisation working on conflict. "The United States, SADC, and the European Union should respond strongly with sanctions if that occurs," he added.