Congo's Catholic Bishops Say Election Results Show Clear Winner

(Bloomberg) -- An organization representing the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic bishops said the results it collected from the presidential election show which candidate has won, without naming the person.

Congolese went to the polls on Dec. 30 to pick a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who’s been in power for 17 years. While the electoral commission has said it can’t give provisional results before Jan. 6, the National Episcopal Conference of Congo said Thursday that “ data in its possession” from polling stations already show the outcome.

The electoral commission must “publish in all responsibility the results of the election in respect of truth and justice,” Donatien Nshole, secretary-general of the conference, told reporters in the capital, Kinshasa. In a statement read out at the meeting, the influential institution, known as CENCO, urged the commission to release hand-counted results from each polling station “to dispel any suspicion.”

CENCO deployed 40,000 observers nationwide to monitor the presidential and parliamentary polls. The presidential contest is a three-way contest between Kabila’s protege, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, and the two main opposition candidates Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

The Catholic organization registered various problems on election day, including polling stations that opened late and voting machines that broke down, Nshole said. The irregularities “could not considerably prevent the choice the Congolese people has clearly expressed at the ballot box,” he said.

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