Congo supreme court upholds president's victory -

Congo supreme court upholds president's victory

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- Congo's supreme court on Friday upheld President Joseph Kabila's victory following a contested election, raising fears of more violence in sub-Saharan Africa's largest nation because the main opposition candidate already has rejected the results showing he placed second.

The November election was only the second democratic vote in Congo's 51-year history, and the first to be organized by the Congolese government rather than by the international community. Observers have expressed concern about irregularities, saying voter turnout results were impossibly high in some districts.

Kabila, Congo's incumbent president, had faced 10 candidates in the November election, including Etienne Tshisekedi. The 78-year-old longtime opposition leader is enormously popular with the country's impoverished masses, and violence is feared if Tshisekedi orders his supporters to demonstrate.

Another opposition candidate had appealed to the supreme court to annul the vote. However, Justice Jerome Kitoko said late Friday that Kabila was the winner.

Kabila first came to power after his father's assassination and now has led the massive, mineral-rich Central African nation for a decade. Results released one week ago showed he had 49 percent of the vote, and Tshisekedi with 32 percent of the nearly 19 million votes cast.

Just 24 hours after those results were published, U.S. observers from the Atlanta-based Carter Center founded by former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement saying the vote lacked credibility.

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