Central African Republic Ex-PM, Touadera Ahead After Election
Former Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Faustin Touadera, has taken a surprise lead in early results from the CAR’s presidential election.
30 candidates contested the poll, which is likely to go to a run-off between the top two on January 31, but Mr Touadera was not seen as a favourite.
He was a Prime Minister in the government of ex-president, Francois Bozize, ousted in 2013 by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.
Voting took place on December 30, with UN troops guarding polling stations.
30 candidates vied to replace interim leader, Catherine Samba-Panza in the former French colony.
The CAR has been torn by sectarian violence since the Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013.
A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, then took up arms against the Seleka.
CAR is one of the world’s poorest countries – yet it is rich in natural resources.
Elections also took place for the 149-seat National Assembly.
After seizing power, the Seleka rebels installed Michel Djotodia as the first Muslim leader of the majority Christian country.
But under pressure from regional leaders and former colonial power, France, Mr Djotodia stood down and was succeeded by Ms Samba-Panza.