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Central African Republic postpones critical elections

Issouf Sanogo, AFP | Bangui residents walk past an electoral poster in the capital of the Central African Republic on Dec. 23, 2015.

Crucial elections scheduled to take place in the Central African Republic on Sunday have been postponed by three days until Dec. 30, Prime Minster Mahamat Kamoun said on Thursday.

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The polls are meant to restore democratic rule after mainly Muslim rebels seized power in the majority Christian nation in early 2013, provoking reprisals from Christian militias that triggered a cycle of inter-religious killings.

Kamoun said the postponement was needed because ballots had arrived late and poll workers still needed to receive training.

"We need to do this with proper material in order to avoid fraud. The delay is necessary if we want to have good results," he told Reuters.

Elections in the former French colony have faced repeated delays. Central African Republic is currently governed by a transitional administration, the second such interim government since President Francois Bozize was toppled in March 2013.

Around one in five Central Africans has fled violence in the country which is rich in diamonds, uranium and gold, about half of them leaving the country altogether. The fighting began as clashes between rival militias degenerated into a conflict between Christians and Muslims that has led to de facto partition.

(REUTERS)

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