Court in CAR upholds election results

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (AP) — Central African Republic’s (CAR) constitutional court on Monday upheld President Faustin Archange Touadera’s re-election, raising the specter of more violence days after rebels attempted to overtake the capital.

Touadera, meanwhile, told reporters that he was open to talks with his opponents as proposed by a rebel spokesman “but not at any price”.

“I have dialogued with the armed groups, but those who are the enemies of peace and democracy, justice will take care of them,” the re-elected president said on Monday.

Political opposition parties had urged the court to order a re-run of the December 27 voting, saying insecurity and alleged irregularities had marred the election.

Voter participation was only 35 per cent, according to official results.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera speaks to the media after casting his vote at the Lycee Boganda polling station in the capital Bangui, Central African Republic. PHOTO: AP

However, the court on Monday validated Touadera’s victory with 53 per cent of ballots cast.

Anicet Georges Dologuele had 22 per cent of the vote, repeating his second place finish in the 2016 election.

Tensions have escalated dramatically since the presidential polls, with rebels opposed to Touadera’s re-election trying to invade the capital last week.

Security forces backed by United Nations (UN) peacekeepers ultimately repelled the attack, the first of its kind in nearly eight years.

Former president Francois Bozize and his allies have been blamed for inciting the violence, which erupted after the constitutional court rejected his candidacy in December.

A judicial investigation has been opened into the role of Bozize, who was in exile until returning to the nation in December 2019, according to the Attorney General at the Bangui Court of Appeal.

Bozize, who took power in a coup in 2003 and ruled until 2013, faces an international arrest warrant for “crimes against humanity and incitement of genocide”.

He also faces UN sanctions for his alleged role in supporting the militia groups that resisted Seleka rebels in 2013.

The mineral-rich republic has faced deadly inter-communal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Seleka rebels seized power from Bozize after long claiming marginalisation.