Presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi (C) arrives for a meeting between CENI, SADC and other presidential candidates in Kinshasa on December 29, 2018, one day ahead of the general elections. (Photo by Luis TATO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LUIS TATO/AFP/Getty Images)
Tshisekedi declared winner in DR Congo election
02:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The African Union has “serious doubts” about the provisional election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is asking that country to suspend the announcement of the final vote counts for the December 30 elections.

“The heads of state and government attending the meeting concluded that there were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the verdict of the ballot boxes,” it said Thursday in a communiqué issued after the meeting.

AU leaders said they would send a team to the DRC to work on “a way out of the post-electoral crisis in the country.”

It’s part of an effort “to assist the DRC political stakeholders and people to successfully conclude the electoral process and preserve peace and stability in their country,” the leaders said.

CNN has reached out to government spokesman Lambert Mende but has not yet received a response.

The December 30 vote was a crucial one for Congo, seen as a test to determine whether the Central African nation could transition into a true democracy.

However, preliminary results announced by the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission showing opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi leading has cast doubts on the credibility of the result.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which had previously asked for a recount, doubled down on its stand Thursday.

The SADC urged all parties involved and the international community to respect the results from the polls, contradicting its earlier calls for a recount to “resolve doubts cast” on the outcome of the election.

Martin Fayulu, center, leaves court Saturday in Kinshasa with his wife, Esther, after filing an appeal.

Runner-up Martin Fayulu, as well as the country’s respected Catholic Church,rejected the election results, saying they don’t reflect the data collected by observers.

Fayulu has challenged the results and filed a motion to the DRC’s constitutional court asking for a full recount.

“The peace and stability of the DRC and the subregion are contingent upon the truth of the ballot. The truth will be obtained through recounting,” he tweeted.

The former oil executive was widely expected to win the election among the 21 candidates at the December 30 polls.