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.
“The AFDT demands … an audit of the collection chain for electoral data, a manual recount of candidates’ ballots, and the publication of the recount,” AFDT member Nicolas Thiangaye said at a news conference attended by the two candidates.
Kolingba and Ziguele lodged complaints with the constitutional court following the announcement of the provisional results by the elections commission last week. The court is charged with certifying those results and is expected to make a ruling this week.