Two former prime ministers will face off in the Central African Republic's presidential runoff election, set for January 31.
Provisional first-round results released late Thursday showed Anicet Georges Dologuele leading with 24 percent of the vote, followed by Faustin Archange Touadera with 19 percent.
More than 30 candidates ran in the first-round election on December 30. The National Election Authority said turnout for the much-anticipated vote reached 79 percent.
Earlier this week, a group of candidates called for the vote count to be canceled, citing alleged voter fraud and logistical difficulties. But the election authority dismissed their concerns as invalid.
The C.A.R. is holding presidential and parliamentary elections to replace a transitional government put into place in 2014, a year after rebels ousted president Francois Bozize.
Dologuele, 58, is an economist who was prime minister under Bozize between 1999 and 2001.
Touadera, also 58, is a former math professor who served as prime minister under Bozize from 2008 until 2013.