Central African Republic: Ex-Prime Minister Touadera wins Central African Republic presidential vote | Reuters

Former Central African Republic prime minister Faustin-Archange Touadera has won a presidential run-off, the electoral commission said on Saturday, in what was widely seen as a step toward reconciliation after years of violent turmoil. Crowds sang and danced into the night in the streets of the capital Bangui, where many people have been killed during three years of inter-communal strife. “It’s the central African people who have won tonight,” said Max Farafei, a 32-year-old motorcycle taxi driver. “Now we all need to rally behind (Touadera) to rebuild the country.” Touadera, 58, a former mathematics professor who campaigned against corruption, won 62.71 percent of votes cast in the Feb. 14 election, according to initial results announced by National Elections Authority (ANE) president Marie-Madeleine Nkouet.

Central African Republic: Crisis-hit Central African Republic awaits results of presidential runoff | France 24

At vote counting centres across the Central African Republic Monday, election workers are opening up ballot boxes and reading out the names on ballot slips a day after the politically volatile nation held a relatively peaceful presidential runoff. Sunday’s presidential election pitched two candidates, both former prime ministers, who campaigned to restore stability to a country that descended into a brutal civil war three years ago, which killed thousands, displaced nearly a million and split the country along sectarian lines. Reporting from the capital Bangui, FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent noted that, “the vote passed smoothly in security terms. No violent incidents were reported in Bangui, nor in other parts of the country. There had been fears about restive areas, particularly in the north and the east. But the UN security forces here ramped up security, redeploying troops to the country’s hotspots.”

Central African Republic: Central Africans cast their ballots for peace | Reuters

Central Africans wrapped up voting to elect new democratic leadership on Sunday, determined to turn the page on years of bloodshed that has killed thousands and split the impoverished nation along religious and ethnic lines. One of the world’s most chronically unstable countries, Central African Republic was pitched into the worst crisis in its history in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled President Francois Bozize. Christian militias responded to Seleka abuses by attacking the Muslim minority community. One in five Central Africans has fled, either internally or abroad, to escape the violence.

Central African Republic: Voters head to the polls under a shadow from the past | Reuters

The smiling faces of two former prime ministers, Anicet-Georges Dologuele and Faustin-Archange Touadera, gaze out from thousands of campaign posters plastered across Central African Republic’s dusty riverside capital Bangui. The specter of a third man, exiled former ruler Francois Bozize, looms just as heavily over the presidential run-off vote on Sunday. With it comes the risk that the vote may change little if anything, no matter who wins it. Central African Republic, a majority Christian country rich in gold, uranium and diamonds but too unstable to mine them profitably, has been torn between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian “anti-balaka” militias since the rebels ousted Bozize in early 2013. The violence has killed thousands, forced one in five residents to flee and led to de facto partition along ethnic and religious faultlines. Seleka withdrew from Bangui in 2014 and an interim president was named to lead a transition to democracy.

Central African Republic: Elections to Go Ahead Sunday in Central African Republic | Associated Press

Central African Republic’s long awaited presidential runoff vote will go forward Sunday alongside a second attempt at credible legislative elections, election authorities said as the two top candidates campaigned outside the capital Wednesday. The nation recovering from several years of intense communal violence between Muslims and Christians must now choose between two former prime ministers — both Christians. The presidential runoff vote has been delayed several times already, raising concerns about whether Sunday’s polls would go forward. Commission President Marie-Madéleine N’Kouet Hoornaert confirmed the voting will be held as scheduled

Central African Republic: Tensions rise as elections draw near | News24

As presidential elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) draw closer, renewed fighting between communities has sparked tensions. With approximately 20% of the country’s population having been displaced due to the conflict, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has stepped up its operations in the central African nation in order to provide much-needed healthcare. Several health centres in the capital of Bangui have suspended their services due to insecurity in the area, leading to many more citizens seeking out MSF’s assistance.

Central African Republic: Court cancels legislative election, orders re-vote | Reuters

Central African Republic’s Constitutional Court has annulled the results of a legislative election, setting back a transition to democracy after years of conflict. Observers had praised the peaceful nature of the polls, meant to end a rocky transition punctuated by violence between militias drawn from the Christian majority and a mostly Muslim alliance of Seleka rebels. Although France and other international partners urged transitional authorities to hold the election, Some analysts had questioned whether Central African Republic was prepared for one. The Constitutional Court’s decision cited irregularities in the vote.

Central African Republic: Presidential runoff, new legislative poll on Feb 14 | AFP

Troubled Central African Republic said Thursday it will hold a deferred presidential runoff alongside a new legislative vote on February 14. The presidential run-off, originally due to be held on Sunday but delayed due to organisational problems, will see two former premiers — Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera — compete for election. A presidential decree said a December 30 legislative election annulled due to irregularities will be held along with the runoff on February 14. The elections have been widely seen as turning a page on the worst sectarian violence in the traditionally unstable and dirt poor nation. Dologuele won 23.74 percent of the vote in the first round on December 30, trailed by Touadera, who picked up 19.05 percent.

Central African Republic: Final Provisional Results for Legislative Polls Announced – UN Mission | allAfrica.com

The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) today reported that the final provisional results for the legislative elections have been announced by the Autorité Nationale des Elections (ANE), with 21 candidates, including three women, being elected by an absolute majority during the first round. “A second round of the legislative elections will be held in 113 constituencies,” noted UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters in New York. The UN has played a major role in seeking to restore peace in the Central African Republic, with military and police units from the 11,000-strong MINUSCA joining soldiers from the French Sangaris force and local security teams last 30 December at polling stations to ensure a peaceful vote.

Central African Republic: Two presidential candidates call for vote recount | Reuters

Two losing candidates in Central African Republic’s presidential race demanded on Tuesday a manual recount of ballots cast in last month’s first-round vote, saying that widespread irregularities undermined the credibility of the results. The election appears set to head to a second round after provisional results showed two ex-prime ministers – Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera – in the lead but neither winning an outright majority. Observers have praised the mainly peaceful nature of the Dec. 30 polls, which many hope will help put an end to years of deadly inter-religious bloodshed. However, Andre Kolingba and Martin Ziguele, who finished third and fourth and are both members of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for Transition (AFDT) political platform, are disputing the result.

Central African Republic: Vote recount demanded | AFP

A top candidate in presidential elections in the Central African Republic, Martin Ziguele, wants a manual recount of first-round votes because of alleged irregularities, his party said on Monday. Ziguele, a former prime minister who came fourth out of 30 hopefuls in the December 30 vote, plans to go to the Constitutional Court to “demand a manual recount of the voting slips”, according to the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC). The party accused the National Authority for Elections (ANE) of breaching the electoral code as it released figures “each day muddling up different (administrative districts) with varying rates of vote counting, rendering any checks and follow-up impossible.”

Central African Republic: UN Envoy Hails First-Round Election Results, Urges Calm As Process Continues | allAfrica.com

Welcoming today’s announcement of the results of the first round of the presidential elections in the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations envoy for the country has invited the two candidates that will participate in an upcoming run-off poll, “to maintain the spirit of peace and restraint that has prevailed” throughout the process thus far. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, officially appointed today as the UN Secretary-General’s Special representative in the CAR, hailed the results of the first round of the presidential election announced by the National Elections Authority (ANE).

Central African Republic: Candidates now mostly support vote count: U.N. | Reuters

Almost all of the 30 candidates running for president of Central African Republic now support the election despite calls this week by 20 of them for the vote count to be stopped, the U.N. peacekeeping mission said on Wednesday. About 77 percent of votes have been counted in the Dec. 30 election that is hoped will mark the end of three years of conflict in which thousands have died. Two former prime ministers are in the lead, according to election authorities, and will likely contest a run-off election on Jan. 31.

Central African Republic: Election Likely to Go to Runoff | Bloomberg

Central African Republic’s presidential election will probably go to a runoff vote, partial results show, with the two front-runners set to fall short of an outright victory. With about three-quarters of the ballots counted, former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuele has won 259,327 votes, while former Premier Faustin-Archange Touadera has secured 228,453, according to the country’s election agency. Full results could be announced at the weekend. There’s “no doubt” that Dologuele and Touadera will go to the second round since 77 percent of the votes have already been tallied, Fernande Sakanoth, a spokesperson with the National Electoral Agency, said on Wednesday. A runoff would be held Jan. 31 if no candidate secures a majority in the first round.

Central African Republic: Candidates call for halt in Central African Republic vote count | Reuters

Two thirds of the 30 candidates standing for president of Central African Republic on Monday demanded the authorities halt the vote count because of what they said were irregularities in the ballot. Many voters hope the Dec. 30 poll will restore peace after three years of conflict between Muslim rebels and Christian militias in which thousands of people have died and around 1 million have fled their homes. The protest by the candidates could mean the final result is contested, but it may be seen by some voters as a last cry by people who see their chances of winning the election slipping away.

Central African Republic: Candidates call for halt to ‘tainted’ election | The Guardian

Twenty out of the 30 candidates vying to be president of Central African Republic have demanded the election be scrapped after what they said was a tainted first round of voting. In a joint statement on Monday, the dissenters cited what they described as irregularities and intimidation in balloting on 30 December, partial results of which have been published. They said they refused to be “complicit in this electoral masquerade” and called for the whole process to be “purely and simply stopped”. They invited all players to get around the negotiating table “to draw up ways of safeguarding the nation”. Signatories include heavyweight candidate Karim Meckassoua , a former foreign minister from the minority Muslim community, who had been a pre-election frontrunner.

Central African Republic: Long Delayed, Central African Republic Elections Are Peaceful | The New York Times

Citizens of the Central African Republic began casting ballots on Wednesday in long-delayed elections that represent the best hope of reuniting the country, one of the world’s poorest, after three years of sectarian violence that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Turnout was heavy among the 1.8 million registered voters, nearly 40 percent of the population. Stores were largely closed so that workers could cast their ballots, a process that took hours. Many lined up outside schools and other polling places well before they opened at 6 a.m., as United Nations peacekeepers from Burundi, Egypt, France, Mauritania, Pakistan and other countries, along with 40 election monitors from the African Union, kept watch. As polls prepared to close at 4 p.m., people were still waiting to vote, including older men with walking sticks and women carrying babies on their backs.

Central African Republic: Polls open in Central African Republic elections | The Guardian

Polling stations have opened in Central African Republic’s much-delayed national elections, which residents and the international community hope will bring stability after years of sectarian violence. A transitional government led by Catherine Samba-Panza has steered the country towards the presidential and parliamentary elections. The National Election Authority proposed the most recent delay, from 27 December to 30 December, to deal with technical and organisational difficulties. “This time, everything will be fine throughout Central African Republic,” said Julius Rufin Ngoadebaba, spokesman for the National Electoral Authority. He denied allegations that illegal voter cards had been distributed.

Central African Republic: Key elections in seek to halt bloodshed | Deutsche Welle

Central African Republic votes in a presidential election on Wednesday which many hope will signal the end of months of sectarian strife in which thousands have been killed and many more forced from their homes. Wednesday’s elections in Central African Republic have been postponed several times due to violence and logistical problems. Most recently, they were supposed to have taken place last Sunday but were called off partly because of clashes in regions of the country where armed gangs still hold sway. Roland Marchal, researcher with the Paris Institute of Political Sciences, told DW it was a matter for concern that the elections were going ahead before these groups, in the west and east and in parts of the capital Bangui, have been disarmed. “Potentially, it’s very possible for any armed group to keep its major weapons and be able to strike,” he said.

Central African Republic: As Central Africans prepare to vote, major challenges still loom | Reuters

As General Bala Keita, the military head of Central African Republic’s U.N. peacekeeping mission, fended off militia attacks on a polling station in a besieged Muslim enclave in the capital Bangui earlier this month, he was surprisingly optimistic. It certainly wasn’t an auspicious start to a constitutional referendum meant to pave the way for pivotal general elections. But amid the machinegun fire and incoming rocket-propelled grenades, the battle-tested Senegalese officer saw hope. “What’s extraordinary is that people are here. And we’re trying to provide security,” he shouted down a crackling phone line during the Dec. 13 referendum. “The population is saying ‘We need to vote.'”

Central African Republic: Election delayed over logistical concerns | The Guardian

A national election in Central African Republic, designed to replace its transitional government and bring stability to a nation wracked by years of sectarian violence has been postponed to 30 December. The election, delayed several times before, was originally scheduled for 27 December. The National Election Authority proposed a short delay to deal with technical and organizational difficulties, officials from the government and the election authority said on Thursday. Electoral agents need to complete training, said Bernard Kpongaba, vice president of the National Election Authority, adding that he did not have assurances that voting materials would have made it in time for the original date. “We will take the time for the collation and deployment throughout the country,” he said.

Central African Republic: As transitional authority steps aside, Central African Republic goes to the polls | Deutsche Welle

Residents of the Central African Republic (CAR)have witnessed more coups than elections since their country gained independence from France in 1960. Sylvestre, a civil servant from the capital Bangui, hopes that change for the better is just around the corner. “It’s always the same here, the situation in the country has deteriorated badly. Right now we really do need progress, to elect somebody who can do some good for our country,” he said. But with 30 candidates running for the presidency in Sunday’s (27.12.2015) elections, it is difficult to see who that somebody could be. The contents of their manifestoes are virtually unknown and this dearth of information is similar to that which beset the referendum earlier in the month. The electorate had to vote on a new constitution about which they knew very little. They voted for it nonetheless. In spite of all the uncertainty surrounding the identity of the next president, there is one political figure who will not be taking the helm: ex-President Francois Bozize, who was ousted in a coup in 2013. The Constitutional Court has banned him from participating. Bozize, who grabbed power himself in a coup in 2003, believes the ruling was unfair. “It was a shabby thing to do to somebody of my caliber,” Bozize told DW. He was president of the country for ten years. “These days nobody wants to have anything to do with me. I was simply dropped,” he said.

Central African Republic: Referendum clears way for elections | AFP

Electoral officials said Monday that 93 percent voted in favour of the reforms limiting the president’s tenure to two terms, fighting institutional corruption and reining in armed militias. The referendum was seen as a test run for the much-delayed elections set for Sunday aimed at ending more than two years of sectarian conflict. The new basic law will usher in the sixth republic since independence from France in 1960 and mark the 13th political regime in a country notorious for its chronic instability. The poor former French colony is trying to get back on its feet since being plunged into conflict after a mainly Muslim rebellion overthrew longtime Christian leader Francois Bozize in 2013.

Central African Republic: Voters in CAR Show Overwhelming Support for New Constitution | VoA News

Voters in the Central African Republic appear to have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution aimed at stopping more than three years of violence between Muslims and Christians. Preliminary results from Sunday’s referendum show 90 percent voting yes. Voting in parts of the country where militias threatened violence, including a Muslim neighborhood in Bangui, was postponed. Those ballots have yet to be counted.

Central African Republic: CAR votes yes on constitutional referendum, partial results show | Associated Press

Central African Republic’s National Election Authority says partial results show citizens have voted yes on a constitutional referendum meant to usher stability into a nation wracked by years of sectarian violence. Authority spokesman Julius Rufin Ngoadebaba said Thursday 90 percent approved the proposals put forward in the referendum, while 10 percent voted against it.

Central African Republic: Voting extended for Central African referendum after violence | Reuters

A referendum on a new constitution in Central African Republic spilled into a second day on Monday after violence marred the first day of a vote intended to help end nearly three years of instability. A Red Cross official said five people were killed and 34 others were wounded during clashes in the capital Bangui which the military commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission said was an attempt by “spoilers” to block the vote. The referendum is a precursor to long-delayed presidential and legislative elections due on Dec. 27.

Central African Republic: CAR tense ahead of referendum | Deutsche Welle

One passerby on the streets of Bangui, capital of Central African Republic (CAR), said he knew nothing of the new draft constitution which is to be put to the vote in a referendum on Sunday (13.12.2015). “How we are we supposed to vote?,” he asked. Another man was equally bewildered. “I know nothing about a campaign for a referendum. But every Central African should find out what’s at stake,” he said. One of the reasons for the uncertainty over the new constitution is that several versions of it are circulating on the Internet. Most Central Africans don’t know exactly what they will be asked to decide upon.

Central African Republic: CAR ‘not safe enough’ for free and fair election | Al Jazeera

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.”

Central African Republic: Pope hopes Central African Republic vote will open ‘new chapter’ | AFP

Pope Francis on Sunday said he hoped upcoming elections in the Central African Republic will enable the conflict-wracked country to peacefully begin a “new chapter” as he arrived in the capital Bangui. “It is my fervent wish that the various national consultations to be held in coming weeks will enable the country to embark serenely on a new chapter of its history,” Francis said as he flew in from Uganda on the most dangerous leg of his three-nation Africa tour.

Central African Republic: DR Congo leader swears in new electoral commission chiefs | AFP

President Joseph Kabila has sworn in new chiefs of the electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo a year ahead of planned polls, state television reported Tuesday. Corneille Nangaa, Norbert Basengezi and Pierrette Mwenze were respectively made president, vice-president and quaestor — or treasury officer — of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), according to a decree. The appointments follow successive resignations of previous top CENI officials at a time of political upheaval, since opponents of Kabila, in power since 1991, believe he is seeking a means to stand for office again despite a constitutional ban.