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CAR confirms presidential run-off, annuls legislative vote over ‘irregularities’

Issouf Sanogo, AFP | People walk past a campaign poster for Central African presidential candidate Anicet Georges Dologuele in the streets of the capital Bangui on December 23, 2015
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The Central African Republic's top court on Monday cancelled the first round legislative vote held in December over "irregularities" but confirmed that two former premiers will vie for the presidency in a run-off this month.


The December 30 elections,were expected to turn a page on the restive country's worst sectarian violence but the legislative vote was flawed by "numerous irregularities and the involvement of candidates in them," Zacharie Ndoumba, the president of the Constitutional Court said.

He said a transitional administration would remain in place until the "installation of a new elected parliament," adding that there had been 414 complaints over electoral malpractices and shortcomings.

A senior electoral commission official had admitted that in some areas people were only able to vote in the presidential election as ballot papers for the legislative poll had not arrived.

The new elections should be held within 60 days of the last one according to law, but that is unlikely to happen in this poor country with abysmal infrastructure.

However, the court confirmed that two former prime ministers, Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera, will vie for the presidency in a second round vote on Sunday.

Dologuele won 23.74 percent of the vote in the first round on December 30, trailed by Touadera, who picked up 19.05 percent.

The court said there were 1.3 million valid votes cast out of an electorate of nearly two million.

Dologuele, a 58-year-old former central banker, came to be known as "Mr Clean" after his attempts to clean up murky public finances during his tenure as prime minister from 1998 to 2001.

Touadera, also 58, is a former maths professor who served as prime minister under disgraced ousted president Francois Bozize. He was considered an outsider among the 30 candidates running for the top job.

CAR has been riven by coups, rebellions, army mutinies and prolonged strikes since the country won its independence from France half a century ago. The latest sectarian unrest has set mainly Muslim rebels against vigilantes from the Christian majority, with civilians as the main victims.


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