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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 13:40 GMT
Kabila calls for calm in DR Congo
A supporter of incumbent President Joseph Kabila celebrates following the announcement of his victory in the election run-off election.
Mr Kabila enjoys most of his support in the east of the country
Joseph Kabila has appealed for calm in the Democratic Republic of Congo as his supporters celebrated his victory in the presidential run-off election.

The country's electoral commission announced Mr Kabila won 58.05% of the vote, ahead of ex-rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba who got 41.9%.

A member of Mr Bemba's camp has vowed to challenge the vote by legal means.

But peacekeepers have deployed extra troops in the capital, Kinshasa - a Bemba stronghold, in case of trouble.

Peace must reign in every corner of the country
President Joseph Kabila

Mr Kabila told the BBC the country should remain quiet because a new page of its history had just been turned.

The BBC's Mark Doyle says Mr Kabila, who obtained relatively few votes in the capital and in the north of the country, will face major difficulties ruling DR Congo.

Fraud accusations

Kinshasa is quiet and the streets empty, says the BBC correspondent there, Arnaud Zajtman.

RUN-OFF RESULTS
President Joseph Kabila and his nearest rival Jean-Pierre Bemba (r)
Kabila: 58.05%
Bemba: 41.9%
Votes counted: 100%

But in Lubumbashi, DR Congo's second town and a stronghold of Mr Kabila, people are celebrating.

"Peace must reign in every corner of the country. Long live democracy. Long live the new DR Congo," Mr Kabila said in a televised address after the results were announced on Wednesday night.

"I ask you tonight to remain united and to live in fraternity and tolerance."

Final results were not expected until Sunday, but the electoral commission announced the official verdict earlier, despite objections already lodged by Mr Bemba's team.

The result must now be upheld by the supreme court.

Electoral commission head Apollinaire Malu Malu called for candidates to respect election rules after the Bemba coalition said their candidate had received more than 50% of the vote and that victory "was being stolen from the Congolese people".

HAVE YOUR SAY
We understand that Kabila himself will not bring peace - he needs the help of the people
Lwango Tchomba, South Africa

Mr Bemba has not yet commented on the results, but correspondents say some in Bemba's camp are playing down the threat of violence.

"People were expecting a war plan from us, some troubles. But we're not into that," AFP news agency quotes Fidele Babala, a Bemba aide, as saying.

"At the level of the national assembly we have our deputies and we're going to play our role as the opposition."

Armed clashes

An analyst who wished to remain anonymous told the BBC that there were serious questions about the validity of some ballot papers, especially a large number of votes cast by voters outside their home areas.

Troops loyal to Mr Bemba carry a wounded colleague
At least four people were killed in Saturday's clashes

Our correspondent adds that there were big question marks over Mr Kabila's tactics ahead of polling, when soldiers intimidated voters and he used the national TV station as a propaganda tool.

The Carter Center mission said they were confident the results announced by the CEI were consistent with those obtained in the polling stations, but they said it was premature to draw firm conclusions about the overall integrity of these election results.

The vote has been the first following DR Congo's five-year conflict.

Forces loyal to the two candidates clashed during the war as well as during the tense election period.

Following violence on Saturday in which four people died, the police arrested 337 homeless people, including 87 children, the government says, blaming them for starting the trouble.

Eyewitnesses say that security forces loyal to the two candidates exchanged gun and mortar-fire.

United Nations observers say the election is the most significant in Africa since Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's president in 1994.

The world's largest UN peacekeeping force - 17,000-strong - is in DR Congo, tasked with ensuring security.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
President Kabila's supporters celebrate the result



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