On Wednesday evening November 15 2006, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced the provisional results that make Joseph Kabila the new president of the DRC, with 58.05% of the votes, against a total of 41.95% of the votes for his presidential rival Jean Pierre Bemba.
Jospeh Kabila gained 9,436,779 votes against 6,819,822 votes for Jean Pierre Bemba, out of a total number of 16,256,601 ballots, which represents a 65.36% turnout of the voting population.
Interestingly, Mr. Kabila only won a majority in five out of the eleven DRC provinces, with a huge Kabila vote of 2,424,975 in Katanga and a poor voting turnout in Kinshasa, a Bemba stronghold, giving him a decisive victory.
At 35 years of age, Mr. Kabila becomes the youngest democratically elected African head of state, a position he has held since the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila in 2001.
After announcing the election results last evening, the head of the IEC, Fr. Apollinaire Malu Malu, declared that the results would now be sent immediately to the Supreme Court for ratification.
The results were announced in a tense Kinshasa following the public declaration of Mr. Bemba’s political camp on Tuesday last, which denounced the partial elections results and questioned the impartiality of the IEC.
The new president appealed for ‘fraternity and tolerance, in order to show the world that the DRC is now engaged, in an irreversible manner, on the road to democracy’.
Mr. Bemba’s spokesperson Fidèle Babala said that he considered the ‘haste in which the IEC announced the results raised many questions, and threw doubt on their impartiality’.
However, the IEC indicated that that they had not received any contestations in relation to any material errors relating to the elections.
Any other disputes or contestations, according to article 73 of the electoral law, should be referred to the Supreme Court in the next three days, who will then have a further seven days to announce the final election results.