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Tshisekedi win in Congo presidential election at odds with Catholic Church tallies: diplomats

FILE PHOTO: Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congolese main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), attends a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Vote tallies compiled by Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic Church contradict official presidential results released by the election commission on Thursday, two diplomats said.

The commission declared opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, the official winner early on Thursday in what could lead to Congo’s first democratic transfer of power. But an observer mission from the Church’s bishops conference (CENCO) told diplomats that its own tallies showed another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, winning.

The discrepancy sets the stage for a possible standoff between the Congolese government and the Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers and is considered one of Congo’s most influential and trusted institutions.

Reporting By Giulia Paravicini; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Edward McAllister