In Summary
  • Since his father founded the UDPS in 1982, the party has served as an opposition mainstay in the former Belgian colony.
  • Although Tshisekedi does not enjoy the same degree of popularity as his father, he has risen steadily through the party ranks.
  • After announcing his bid to run for the presidency, Tshisekedi promised a return to the rule of law, to fight the "gangrene" of corruption and to bring peace to the east of the country.​

KINSHASA,

The son of DR Congo's veteran opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi has taken the prize that eluded his late father — the presidency.

On Thursday he was named by election officials as the provisional winner of an historic election in the country.

He is the head of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), a party founded by his father Etienne who spent decades as the country's main opposition leader but died in February last year.

His father Etienne founded the country's oldest and largest opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and went on to spend decades as the country's main opposition leader but died in February last year — with Tshisekedi junior taking over.

Known to his friends as "Fatshi", the portly 55-year-old is set to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the volatile, poverty-stricken nation with an iron fist since 2001.

But for a while, it looked like he wouldn't even to be on the ballot.

'SPLIT OPPOSITION'

On November 11, Tshisekedi joined six other opposition leaders to rally behind a single unity candidate, Martin Fayulu, to take on Kabila's handpicked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

But the deal drew a furious response from his supporters, prompting him and fellow opposition leader Vital Kamerhe to abandon the deal and run on a joint ticket, effectively weakening and splitting the opposition.

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