Tshisekedi leads in diaspora tallies in five countries in DRC election preliminary results

People queue at a polling station in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on December 20, 2023. [Xinhua]

Incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who is seeking reelection, leads in diaspora vote tallies in South Africa, Belgium, Canada, the United States and France, according to preliminary results announced Friday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Tshisekedi won 81.27 percent of the votes  cast by DRC citizens in South Africa, 75.94 percent in Belgium, 72.33 percent in Canada, 78.88 percent in the United States, and 85.58 percent in France, the CENI said.

DRC voters went to the polls Wednesday to elect a new president, members of the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, as well as municipal councilors.

Voting was extended to Thursday, as some polling stations were not able to be in operation on time due to logistic problems.

Twenty-six candidates were registered by the CENI to compete in the presidential elections.

Moise Katumbi, former governor of Katanga province, Denis Mukwege, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with rape survivors, as well as Martin Fayulu, who still considers himself the legitimate winner of the 2018 presidential election, are the main challengers facing Tshisekedi.

The electoral law of the DRC stipulates that the candidate who garners the most votes in the first round will become the next president outright, with a five-year term, renewable once only.

According to the official electoral calendar, provisional results are expected on Dec. 31, and the president-elect will be sworn in on Jan. 20 next year.