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CAR President-Elect Calls for National Unity


Francois Bozize
The newly elected former coup leader in the Central African Republic has called for national unity to overcome near economic collapse in the resource-rich, but impoverished, country.

President-elect Francois Bozize said Central Africans have no other option but to work together.

Results released Tuesday gave him more than 60 percent of the vote in the run-off election against former Prime Minister Martin Ziguele. Mr. Ziguele was one of the prime ministers under former President Ange-Felix Patasse, who was toppled by Mr. Bozize in 2003 amid government mismanagement and militia violence.

Mr. Bozize's party, known as Kwa Na Kwa, translated as "work only work", will be able to form a majority in parliament with independents. Mr. Patasse's party fared poorly in the legislative part of the two-round election.

Mr. Ziguele conceded defeat, saying he was a democrat. One of his supporters also said she would accept the results.

"The winner is Bozize and he is the president of CAR even if I am from Ziguele's party it does not matter. We are going to see if Bozize is able to rule the country," he said.

She said there are many pressing problems just in the capital Bangui.

"Today, there is a problem at the university because people are on strike and the civil servants are not paid," she added.

Outside the capital, there are reports of worsening food shortages.

A campaign manager for one of the losing first round candidates who rallied behind Mr. Bozize says the government that is formed must be able to work well with international donors.

"He has to form a government which can be very credible, very credible in front of the international institutions, to get money after,” he explained. “I think it is very important for him to make a serious government."

Another former prime minister, Jean-Paul Ngoupande, who has a solid economic background, is being mentioned as returning to that role.