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DRC: Opponent Fayulu confirms presidential candidacy

Defeated Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu greets supporters as he arrives at a rally in Kinshasha, Congo, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.   -  
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Jerome Delay/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The opponent Martin Fayulu, who has maintained suspense in recent weeks, confirmed Saturday in Kinshasa his candidacy for the presidential election of December 20 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He will face the current president, Félix Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, candidate for re-election.

"The Lamuka coalition ("Wake up", in Lingala) decided to run for president," Fayulu told reporters.

"We will continue to fight for transparency in elections. We did not get it by the audit of the electoral register, we will have it in the surveillance" of the vote, added the opponent, who says for five years that the victory was stolen during the presidential election of December 2018.

By July 2022, his party Ecidé (Engagement for Citizenship and Development), which belongs to the Lamuka coalition, had made Martin Fayulu his official candidate for the next presidential election, coupled with the legislative, provincial and municipal elections.

But a year later, while refusing to talk about a "boycott", he assured that if he did not obtain a new audit of the electoral register, his party would not file candidacy files for the elections.

According to him, out of 43.9 million registered voters, there would be "10 million fictitious". " This time, it will not pass... We refuse to launder fraud (...), we must mobilize to prevent the electoral parody in preparation from happening," he told the press.

In fact, his party has not aligned any candidates in the legislative and provincial elections, which could suggest that Mr. Fayulu, 66, former executive of the oil major ExxonMobil, would not be on the presidential ranks either.

The electoral register was not subject to a new audit, but Mr. Fayulu nevertheless considered that the "pressure" had made progress. The chairman of the electoral commission, he noted, for example, recently said that the election results would be published "polling station by polling station".

At the presidential election of December 2018, he had among his competitors the then-ruling candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, and that of the historical opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), Félix Tshisekedi.

The latter was proclaimed the winner with 38.5% of the vote, with Martin Fayulu coming in 2nd (34.8%) and Emmanuel Ramazani in 3rd (23%).

Mr. Fayulu claimed to have won with 61% of the vote and shouted at the "electoral coup". Felix Tshisekedi denies and claims to have won the election.

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