Congo di­vided over oppn chief’s elec­tion

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD - —AP

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

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