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Supreme Court validates Kabila presidential victory

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KINSHASA, 28 Nov 2006 (IRIN) - The Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday declared Joseph Kabila winner of a controversial presidential run-off election held on 29 October.

"The Supreme Court of Justice declares Joseph Kabila Kabange elected by an absolute majority," Benoit Lwamba Bindu, the court's first president, said in Kinshasa, the capital.

The court's declaration confirmed the results of the Independent Electoral Commission published on 15 November giving Kabila 58 percent in the run-off and 42 percent to his challenger, Jean-Pierre Bemba. The endorsement followed the court's examination of a petition filed by Bemba challenging the commission's results. Kalonda Teleoma, a magistrate who was chairman of one of the two hearings on the challenge, said Bemba's petition contained eight objections to the results that were not backed by evidence.

"The Supreme Court of Justice received a petition from candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, but declares its [concerns] unfounded," Teleoma said.

Bemba's lawyer, Richard Bondo, described the court's ruling as a "ready-made" result.

[Countdown in Congo]

ei/oss/mw


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