Congo Rejects African Union Demand to Delay Election Results

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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday rejected an African Union demand to delay announcing the final results of its presidential election, compounding the turmoil surrounding a vote that many fear could fan widespread unrest.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday, the African Union called for the results to be postponed because of “serious doubts” over the conduct of the election. The vote was supposed to be Congo’s first democratic handover of power in 59 years of independence, but the runner-up candidate has said the result was rigged.

The final tally will be released once the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges to provisional results, including those filed by Martin Fayulu, the opposition leader and second-place finisher.

“I do not think anyone has the right to tell the court what to do,” the government spokesman Lambert Mende said.

The African Union said it would send a delegation to Congo to seek “a way out of the postelectoral crisis,” The mission is expected to arrive in Kinshasa on Monday and include Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda and chairman of the African Union.

Mr. Mende said the African Union delegation was welcome, but that the postelection process would not change.

Provisional results announced last week showed a surprising victory for the opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi. Mr. Fayulu sought a recount, saying the result was announced only after the outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, had struck a power-sharing deal with Mr. Tshisekedi.

Mr. Kabila and Mr. Tshisekedi have denied reaching such a deal.

Speaking on Friday, Mr. Fayulu welcomed the African Union statement and called on his supporters to remain calm.

“I ask you to not give in to provocation, to avoid anything that could divide us or break down national cohesion,” he said. “Nobody can deny the people their victory.”

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