News / Africa

Vote Delay in Central African Republic Could Extend President's Term

Elections in the Central African Republic have been postponed for a second time, raising the likelihood that the president will remain in office past the end of his June mandate.

President Francois Bozize agreed to delay the May 16 vote after meeting with opposition leaders who say the Central African Republic must first update its voter lists and disarm rebel groups.

That will now likely keep President Bozize in office beyond the expiration of his constitutional mandate June 11th. In an announcement on state radio, the president said he will work with the national assembly to, in his words, "suggest a way we can avoid anarchy in the country."

President Bozize won election in 2005 after taking power in a coup two years earlier against the government of Ange-Felix Patasse. He and Mr. Patasse are the only two candidates in this vote because a coalition of opposition parties is boycotting the process over concerns about security and the electoral list.

This vote was originally scheduled for last Sunday but was delayed until May. Electoral commission spokesman Rigobert Vondo says it must now be pushed back again because a vote can not technically be organized within the next three weeks.

Thierry Vircoulon directs the Central Africa project for the International Crisis Group. He says elections in the Central African Republic are both too early and too late: too early because militias are not disarmed, too late because President Bozize's mandate expires in June.

"Beyond June you have a constitutional problem," Vircoulon said. "So you have there a real dilemma between the fact that the constitution has its own timeframe, and you have also the problem of implementing the electoral process which requires more time."

The ten-party Collective of Forces for Change coalition says a free and fair vote is not possible while violence continues in the north between government troops and rebels opposed to the Bozize government and in the east between the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army and government troops supported by Ugandan soldiers.

"There must be security for all the candidates who want to campaign to go to any area they want. That is quite difficult to achieve right now in Central Africa Republic because some areas are still sensitive," said Vircoulon.

Rebels in the north this month confiscated electoral lists that were being sent to the capital. That fight is compounded by an unrelated rebellion across the border in Chad. The United Nations has nearly 4,000 peacekeepers in the area for both Chad and the Central African Republic, but Chad wants those forces to start pulling out within weeks.

Dorina Bekoe is a senior research associate at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

"The Chadian rebellion and the CAR rebellions are linked to internal political instability, and until those two issues find resolution, you are going to continue to see armed rebellion," Bekoe said.

While President Bozize has not called on the UN's MINURCAT peacekeeping force to leave the Central African Republic, most of those troops are based in Chad. Bekoe says redeploying them against the Lord's Resistance Army would dramatically change their mandate to protect humanitarian assistance to one-quarter million Sudanese refugees and another one-quarter million combined Chadian and Central African Republic civilians.

"There has been a call for perhaps relocating the UN and MINURCAT to the area where the LRA are operating but that is way beyond the current mandate," Bekoe adds. "They have certainly added to the spread of the humanitarian insecurity and the crisis in CAR."

The U.N. says LRA attacks on civilians have displaced more than 20,000 people inside the Central African Republic, adding to both electoral insecurity and the likelihood that those people will not be able to vote.

The Economic Community of Central African States is calling on the Bozize government to continue its dialogue with political opponents to arrive at an acceptable approach to organizing elections that allow both voters and candidates to freely exercise their democratic rights.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid