Congo divided over oppn chief’s election
Washington: United States President Donald Trump, facing the prospect of the longest US government shutdown in history, is considering declaring a national emergency that would likely escalate a policy dispute with Democrats over his proposed US-Mexico border wall into a court test of presidential power.
To escape a political trap of his own making, Trump on Thursday suggested that he might declare an emergency so he can bypass Congress to get funding for his wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 election campaign.
As the partial government shutdown entered its 21st day, Trump reiterated his claim in an early-morning tweet, saying Mexico would indirectly pay for the wall, without offering any evidence. It would become the longest US shutdown on Saturday.
He originally pledged Mexico would pay for the wall, which he says is needed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. But the Mexican government has refused. Trump is now demanding that Congress provide $5.7 billion in US taxpayer funding for the wall.
Democrats in Congress call the wall an ineffective, outdated answer to a complex problem. The stand-off has left a quarter of the federal government closed down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees staying home on furlough or working without pay.
With no Capitol Hill compromise in sight, Trump publicly ruminated on Thursday during a trip to the Texas border about declaring an emergency.
A close Trump confidante judged the time for such a step had come. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement: “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/ barrier. I hope it works.”
The Wall Street Journal, NBC and the Washington
Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that the White House had asked the US Army Corps of Engineers to look into diverting money from its budget toward the wall and to explore how fast construction could begin under an emergency declaration. This, however, could not be verified. Kinshasa: With the Democratic Republic of the Congo still reeling from the disputed victory of opposition challenger Felix Tshisekedi, the nation’s attention on Friday turned to the results of the legislative elections to see who will control parliament for the next five years.
In a country that has never known a peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, Thursday’s announcement that an opposition candidate won the race to replace President Joseph Kabila was a historic first.
But the legitimacy of Tshisekedi’s victory was immediately called into question, with his opposition rival Martin Fayulu, who came a close second, dismissing the result as an “electoral coup”.
The powerful Roman Catholic Church also said the outcome of the troubled December 30 vote did not tally with data its own observers collected, raising serious questions about the credibility of the figures released by the CENI election commission.
The provisional results declared Tshisekedi victor with 38.57 per cent of the vote, just ahead of Fayulu with 34.8 per cent.
Protests turn deadly
The pre-dawn announcement brought thousands of Tshisekedi supporters onto the streets in celebration, while others who had backed Fayulu came out to protest, with five people killed in the resulting clashes with police.
“These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Fayulu said.
Five civilians died in the unrest, police said Friday, denying that two police officers were among the dead.
Spurned candidate Martin Fayulu greets supporters in Kinshasha