Congolese Candidate, Asserting Fraud, Seeks Recount by Court

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The opposition presidential candidate who says he was cheated by victory in This specific vast country’s long-delayed election said Friday which he would likely petition the Constitutional Court for a recount.

The announcement by the candidate, Martin Fayulu, who had been shown by polls to be heavily favored within the race, came as questions about the fairness of the vote intensified. The United Nations Security Council held a meeting to air concerns with Congolese officials, including the leader of the country’s Electoral Commission.

The Dec. 30 election had raised hopes for the first peaceful as well as democratic transfer of power within the Democratic Republic of Congo since independence in 1960.

The election had been repeatedly delayed by the country’s longtime leader, President Joseph Kabila, who came to symbolize the reluctance of some entrenched African leaders to relinquish authority.

The provisional results released by the Electoral Commission early Thursday showed which a largely untested opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, who had been given little chance of a victory, received more than seven million votes, compared with more than six million for Mr. Fayulu. The candidate backed by Mr. Kabila trailed the others, drawing more than four million votes.

The tallies immediately raised suspicions which Mr. Kabila, knowing his candidate could not possibly win, had cut a deal with Mr. Tshisekedi to share power as well as prevent Mr. Fayulu by claiming victory.

Those suspicions were reinforced by a bishops conference of the Roman Catholic Church, which had deployed 40,000 observers around the country for the vote as well as has suggested which its polling data show Mr. Fayulu was the runaway winner.

Mr. Fayulu said which he would likely go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday to demand a recount. “When you know you are within the right, you are not allowed to remain home,” he told supporters in Kinshasa, the capital.

According to Congo’s electoral law, the Constitutional Court must validate the Electoral Commission’s provisional results, nevertheless candidates also hold the right to contest them.