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Congo rejects African Union demand to delay final vote result

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Martin Fayulu, runner-up in Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, chant slogans and carry placards as he delivers his appeal contesting the Congo's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) results of the presidential election at the constitutional court in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on January 12, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Democratic Republic of Congo has rejected an African Union demand to delay the announcement of final results from its disputed presidential election, the government said on Friday.

The final tally for the Dec. 30 election, which was marred by widespread violence and fraud allegations, is to be released once the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges to the provisional results, including from opposition leader and election runner-up Martin Fayulu. The court's decision is expected later on Friday or Saturday.

But the African Union called after a meeting in Addis Ababa on Thursday for the final results to be postponed, adding to the turmoil in a post-election process meant to bring Congo’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence.

The AU said in a statement it would dispatch a delegation to Congo to seek "a way out of the post-electoral crisis".

Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Friday that while the AU delegation was welcome, the post-electoral process would not change as Kinshasa had the sovereign right to control it.

Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil manager, requested a recount of the poll this week, saying he won by a landslide and that the official winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, struck a deal with President Joseph Kabila to be declared the victor.

(Source: Reuters)

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