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Candidates Complain About C.A.R. Poll Cancellation

  • Nick Long

FILE - A election official writes as people cast their ballots during elections in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.

FILE - A election official writes as people cast their ballots during elections in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.

In the Central African Republic, the results of the parliamentary elections held on December 30 have been annulled and candidates will have to run again. The constitutional court Monday upheld the results of the first round of the presidential elections, but ruled there were too many irregularities in the parliamentary poll.

In Bangui, the prime minister explained that the biggest irregularity in the poll was the lack of ballot papers.

C.A.R.’s Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun said in a media interview Wednesday that the country’s polling stations were short of 500,000 ballot papers for the parliamentary elections on December 30.

Kamoun was defending the Constitutional Court’s decision to invalidate the result of those elections – a decision that has not gone down well with candidates who thought they had won.

Former government minister Ambroise Zawa was one of those candidates.

“In my constituency,” he said, adding, “we had ballot papers. I won with 82 percent of the votes and I deeply regret that the court has rejected the results and is telling us to stand again.”

“Who is going to pay our bill?” he asked, “when we’re already elected.”

Zawa also says it’s unfair that the first round of presidential elections was not cancelled, as there were many complaints about them as well.

Journalist and commentator Eric Bondo rejects Zawa’s claim that the court’s decisions were inconsistent.

He said the court was very clear, that as regards the presidential election, there was no proof shown of irregularities at particular polling stations, whereas in the parliamentary elections there was proof. For example, he said, there was no parliamentary vote at his local polling station.

A spokesman for the national electoral authority, Julius Ngouade-Baba, told VOA the ballot papers had been printed at the last moment and there was no time to ensure they reached all the polling stations.

Why the last minute rush?

Ngouade-Baba says it’s because they wanted to organize inclusive elections so they were very tolerant with the 1,000 or so candidates who didn’t submit their candidatures on time.

He said the time for submitting applications for the parliamentary elections is now over.

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