Presidents of Zambia and South Africa hold talks over DRC

Presidents of Zambia and South Africa hold talks over DRC

It was not clear whether Fayulu would dispute the election results in court.

The South African government has tweeted a photo of Mr. Ramaphosa's meeting with President Lungu.

Mr Fayulu's supporters say this backs their suspicion that Mr Tshisekedi has cut a power-sharing deal with Mr Kabila.

The declared outcome of presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo is "not consistent" with the actual results, France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday, suggesting opposition leader Martin Fayulu should have won instead.

Mr Kabila has promised that the polls, which were supposed to have taken place two years ago, will see the mineral-rich central African state's first orderly transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Just hours later, the Church said election results tallied by its 40,000 observers scattered across the country showed a different victor, without specifying who.

Some Congolese tired of Kabila's 18-year rule, the two turbulent years of election delays and years of conflict that killed millions of people said they simply wanted peace.

The church's long-awaited announcement, hours after the official results, brought fresh uncertainty.

Anti-riot police with water cannon and armored vehicles are outside Congo's electoral commission ahead of the announcement of the first results of the presidential election.

The other main opposition candidate, former oil executive Martin Fayulu - who was tipped as the favourite in the few pre-election opinion polls - also sounded a conciliatory tone on Tuesday.

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Publicly, the church said its tally did not match official results.

The head of the commission, Corneille Nangaa, earlier said that the results from a number of polling stations still needed to be counted.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seemed poised on Wednesday to announce the results of presidential elections whose repeated delays have stoked fears for the giant country's stability.

The electoral commission started deliberating and evaluating presidential election results on Tuesday evening, after which it will announce the victor.

The opposition was weakened by internal arguments and the exclusion by the electoral commission of two political heavyweights: Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former warlord, and Moïse Katumbi, a popular tycoon. The constitutional court then has seven days to consider disputes before results are final.

The discrepancy sets the stage for a possible standoff between the Congolese government and the Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers and is considered one of Congo's most influential and trusted institutions. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The Kabila family has led Congo for more than 20 years. "Where did the extra seven million votes come from [for Tshisekedi's victory]?" Barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, Kabila handpicked Shadary, a loyalist former interior minister, to run for the ruling Common Front for Congo coalition, fueling suspicions the current head of state meant to retain considerable influence over his preferred successor.

Tshisekedi's win raises questions over the future of Kabila, who has governed since his father's assassination in 2001 and overstayed the official end of his mandate by two years. He was elected in 2006, and secured another term in controversial elections in 2011.

The elections were held on December 30, but CENI last weekend said provisional results, expected on Sunday, would be held up because of logistical problems.

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