Joseph Kabila declared winner of Congo Presidential election

Thursday, November 16, 2006

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when meeting with United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon in 2003.

Incumbent President Joseph Kabila has been declared the winner of the 2006 Presidential elections by the Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chairperson of the electoral commission, Apollinaire Malu Malu, announced that Kabila polled 58 percent of the vote to his rival Jean-Pierre Bemba's 42 percent, in the run-off vote held on October 29.

Kabila has called for calm following the announcement by the election commission.

Bemba has released a statement saying he does not accept the declared election result. Bemba and his supporters have previously disputed the provisional results announced by the commission.

Kabila is the world's youngest head of state, getting the title as leader of Congo in 2001, after his father, Laurent-Desiré Kabila was assassinated in 2001.

Election officials have rejected claims of fraud. International observers monitoring the polls have said that despite some problems, the polling was largely free and fair.

Kinshasa is tense amidst fears that violence between the two leaders' armed supporters may break out. The U.N. peacekeeping force has stepped up security, deploying tanks on the streets of the capital.