The Central African Republic will not be safe enough to host a free and fair election at the end of this month, a leading African think-tank has said. David Zounmenou, a senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, told Al Jazeera that authorities are neither prepared to provide security nor able to guarantee all eligible voters would be represented on the voters’ roll. “There is no way disarmament of the militia groups would be complete by December 27, and by all indications, I think elections will take place in March 2016,” Zounmenou, of the institute’s African Security Analysis Programme, said. “Some external partners, like France, are pushing for the elections to take place, to get the country out of this stage and get the issue out of the way, but I believe this transitional government will be here for a while.”
As of now, the country is scheduled to host a referendum over the constitution, while legislative and presidential elections are set for December 27, with a run-off set for late January 2016. But if elections are delayed, it would be at least the fifth time that elections would have been postponed in the Central African Republic, known as CAR, in 2015 alone.
Dismissing speculations of a possible poll delay, Diane Corner, UN assistant secretary-general, told Al Jazeera that the Economic Community of East African States leaders had agreed on a technical extension of the political transition period until March 31, 2016, at the latest.