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C.A.R. Presidential Election Likely to Go to 2nd Round

  • Katarina Höije

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

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

The National Election Authority in Bangui raced to beat a deadline to announce the results from the December 30 presidential poll.

With more than 70 percent of the votes counted, the Central African Republic's presidential election looks set to go to a second round. Both of the two leading candidates are former prime ministers who served under ousted president Francois Bozize.

The Authority's logistics officer, René Sankanga, said some votes have yet to arrive in the capital.

The votes from the refugees and the Diaspora in Chad arrived Wednesday in Bangui, but votes from France and some regions have not arrived, he said. The Election Authority hopes they will arrive by Thursday so results can be announced.

Central African Republic presidential candidate Anicet Dologuele casts his ballot at a polling center during the presidential election in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.

Central African Republic presidential candidate Anicet Dologuele casts his ballot at a polling center during the presidential election in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.

As things stood Wednesday, former prime minister Anicet Georges Dologuele held the lead with 248,000 votes. He is followed by another former prime minister, Faustin Archange Touadera, with 217,000 votes.

It is clear that Touadera has won Bangui, while Dologuele’s stronghold is in the populated western parts of the country.

The results leave the other 28 candidates with little chance of catching up before the final results are due Thursday evening.

Vote credibility questioned

Earlier this week, 19 candidates questioned the credibility of the poll and demanded the counting be stopped. The C.A.R. transitional government, the National Transition Council, said the vote count would go ahead as planned, despite logistical difficulties.

Sankanga said the Election Authority is working "24/7 to be able to assemble the results in time."

Anyone who wants to contest the final results has 10 days to do so with the country’s constitutional court. If they do, a second round currently scheduled for January 31 will likely be postponed.

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