Central African Republic: No Winner Emerges In First Round Of Election

CAN2Central African Republic looks set for a run-off vote to elect a new president to try to end a cycle of Muslim-Christian violence after former prime minister Anicet Georges Dologuele topped the poll but fell short of a majority.

Dologuele won 23.78 percent of votes, followed by another former prime minister, Faustin Archange Touadera, with 19.42 percent, National Election Authority (ANE) president, Marie-Madeleine Nkouet, said on Thursday, quoting provisional results.

In the absence of an absolute majority, the constitutional court is set to announce a second round run-off. The provisional date for this is Jan. 31.

Thirty contenders were vying to lead the former French colony where a three-year sectarian conflict has killed thousands of people and driven a million others from their homes despite efforts by U.N. and French peacekeepers to restore order.

Violence intensified when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in early 2013, prompting reprisals from anti-balaka militias drawn from the Christian majority.

Twenty of the candidates had previously voiced objections to the vote and urged for counting to halt but most of them have since changed their position.

Central African Republic Ex-PM, Touadera Ahead After Election

Touadera ahead after CAR's electionFormer 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.

Central African Republic Capital Under Lockdown After Clashes

central african republicThe capital of the Central African Republic (C.A.R) is under a night-time curfew, after days of intense fighting between Christian and Muslim groups.

Fierce clashes between the two groups erupted after the killing of a Muslim taxi driver in Bangui on Saturday.

At least 36 people have died in the violence, and the United Nations (UN) says it has forced nearly 30,000 people to flee.

A UN spokesman said the country may be returning to a state of unseen violence since conflict erupted two years ago.

“We fear that the violence we’re seeing in Bangui is a return to the dark days of late 2013 and 2014, when thousands were killed and tens of thousands had to flee their homes,” Leo Hobbs said.

The Central African Republic has been wracked by violence since a mainly Muslim rebel group, Seleka, seized power in march 2013.

The Seleka group was then ousted, sparking a wave of violent reprisals against the Muslim population, thousands of whom fled their homes.

Interior Minister, Modibo Bachir Walidou, told BBC that the government remained in control, but the situation remained volatile.

Interim President, Catherine Samba Panza, returned from the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, telling the BBC that elections postponed for October would now be canceled.

She accused ‘former dignitaries’ of fomenting violence, singling out former President Francois Bozize.

Mr Bozize has criticised the decision to Barr him from standing for election, saying: “democracy was murdered in front of everyone in the Central African Republic.”