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CAR's Bozize to Face Second Round

  • Nico Colombant

Former Central African Republic coup leader Francois Bozize fails to win an outright first round majority in March presidential elections and will face a former prime minister in the second round, scheduled for May first.

Military troops deployed in market areas Thursday in the Central African Republic capital Bangui to prevent unrest following the long-awaited announcement of the results.

But a supporter for second place finisher, Martin Ziguele, Blanche Dakobo, says there is no risk now that there will be a second round.

"It is ok, it is ok, because if there is no second ballot, there will maybe be civil war but according to the people now they are waiting for the second ballot," she said. "Mr. Bozize - here in Bangui - he has many votes but in the provinces it will be difficult for him."

Mr. Bozize was credited with nearly 43 percent of the vote in the first round held three weeks ago. Popular former Prime Minister Ziguele got just below 24 percent, mainly from the north, but should get support from losing candidates in the second round.

A campaign manager for fourth-place finisher Jean-Paul Ngoupande, Faustin Bambou, says there is hope again, after fears Mr. Bozize would steal the election.

"In this election, there have been many, many frauds," he said. "But if after the second time [round] if people succeed in electing a new president I think it will be a hope for our country."

Despite being resource rich, the Central African Republic has been mired in years of strife, misrule, corruption and coup attempts - the last one successful in 2003.

Twice-elected deposed President Ange-Felix Patasse was barred from running because of a pending trial against him on charges of massive corruption and using foreign mercenaries to kill opponents. He says he is innocent, but now lives in exile.

The power broker for the second round may be former military ruler Andre Kolingba who finished third with over 16 percent of the vote.

Election results for legislative elections also held on March 13 have yet to be announced. Voting was marked by high turnout, logistical delays and denials by supporters of Mr. Bozize as well as African and national observers that the elections were being rigged.

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