2020–21 Central African general election
General elections were held in the Central African Republic on 27 December 2020 to elect the President and National Assembly. A second round of the legislative elections will take place on 14 February 2021.
Voting was not able to take place in many areas of the country controlled by armed group resulting in some Central African media and opposition candidates describing the elections as farce and fraud. Some 800 of the country's polling stations, 14% of the total, were closed due to violence, and during the first round, voting was unable to take place in 29 of the 71 sub-prefectures, while six others only managed to partially vote before being shut down due to voter intimidation.
Background[edit source | edit]
The previous presidential elections were the first to be held under the 2015 constitution, which established the 6th Republic. Faustin-Archange Touadéra was the winner, and took office on March 30, 2016.
Several obstacles affected the election process. The December 2020 election took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, raising fears of postponement. However, the constitution prohibits any further extension of the term of the incumbent president beyond his term of office, which for Touadéra is 29 March 2021. The government attempted to amend the constitution, but the draft was rejected by the Constitutional Court on June 5, 2020. In addition, the country is also still subject to a UN peacekeeping operation, MINUSCA, while two-thirds of the country is controlled by rebellious armed groups.
In early September, the Constitutional Court gave the National Elections Authority (ANE) until September 27 to publish an updated voter registry. On September 10, the opposition and several civil society groups publicly observed that the election would probably be delayed; in the event that the presidential and parliamentary terms would be extended, they demanded the formation of a unity government. For its part, the ANE announced that the results would be delayed until October 8 due to technical issues, but the vote would not be postponed. The first round remained set for December 27, 2020 by the ANE.
Electoral system[edit source | edit]
The President of the Central African Republic is elected by a two-round system for a five-year term, renewable only once. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of the votes cast in the first ballot is elected. If not, a runoff is held between the top two candidates to decide the winner.
Presidential candidates[edit source | edit]
On 3 December 2020, the Constitutional Court of Central African Republic accepted 17 candidatures for presidential elections:
- Faustin-Archange Touadéra (MCU)
- Anicet-Georges Dologuélé (URCA)
- Martin Ziguélé (MLPC)
- Sylvain Patassé
- Mahamat Kamoun
- Augustin Agou
- Crépin Mboli Goumba (fr)
- Serge Djorie
- Eloi Anguimaté (fr)
- Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet
- Abdoul Karim Meckassoua
- Catherine Samba-Panza
- Cyriaque Gonda
- Nicolas Tiangaye
- Kolingba Désiré
- Reboas Aristide
- Serge Bokassa
Conduct[edit source | edit]
On 6 August 2020 UPC banned voter registration from taking in place in Bambouti in Haut-Mbomou demanding ransom. As of 15 October only 700 people were able to register to vote in Haut-Mbomou prefecture as a result of UPC and LRA presence in region.
The leaders of Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation announce a coalition for the general election, a move that increase tensions ahead of the election, where the opposition fears massive voter fraud. The armed groups named themselves the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and invited other armed groups to join, while urging them to protect the integrity of civilians. Their aim was to pressure the government into postponing the elections. The coalition fought against MINUSCA peacekeepers as well as Russian and Rwandan troops until a ceasefire was declared on December 23.
On 25 December, two days before the elections, unidentified armed gunmen attacked national security forces and international peacekeepers serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic in Dékoa, central Kémo Prefecture, and Bakouma, southern Mbomou Prefecture. Three Burundian peacekeepers were killed and an additional two were wounded. The attack occurred hours after a rebel coalition fighting the government called off a unilateral truce and reiterated calls for the suspension of the election.
The attacks on the peacekeepers followed a general surge in violence across the Central African Republic, over the past few weeks, during which aid workers and properties have also been attacked. The insecurity and fear of violence has led to more than 55,000 people fleeing their homes.
During the first round, voting was unable to take place in 29 of the 71 sub-prefectures according to Augustin Yangana-Yahote, the Minister for Territorial Administration. Six others only managed to partially vote before being shut down due to voter intimidation.
Observers noted possible irregularities in the conduct of the election. An observer group reported that a large number of voters cast ballots with letters of exemption in Bangui. The procedure allows voters to cast their ballot elsewhere than the polling station where they are registered. According to the Rainbow Network, 81 percent of the votes were cast in this manner. Coordinating member of the same network, Origine Bekondi said, "Three days before the end of the mandate of the members of the ANE (the National Elections Authority), the president of the ANE proceeded to issue deregistration certificates to voters who had voted massively."
Results[edit source | edit]
According to provisional results announced on January 4 by the National Elections Authority, Faustin-Archange Touadéra was re-elected for a second term with 53.92 percent of the vote. Anicet-Georges Dologuélé came second. Turnout among registered voters was 76.3%.
On January 18 the Constitutional Court confirmed President Faustin Archange Touadera's victory with 53.16% of the vote but said turnout was 35.25%. Anicet Georges Dologuele had 21.69%. The court rejected a suit filed by 13 of the 16 other candidates, who argued that Touadera's victory was the result of "massive fraud" and insecurity. They annulled or revised the results from certain polling stations because of irregularities but said the impact could not have affected the overall outcome. Chief Judge Daniele Darlan declared, "Part of the Central African people, who are at war, were prevented by acts of terror... and despite this, the people sent a strong and clear message to those who were terrorising them, to those who were telling them not to vote, and to the whole world."
A coalition opposition political parties, COD 2020, accused the U.N.'s representative, Mankeur Ndiaye, of favouring Touadera but did not present evidence. The streets of Bangui were far quieter than usual, and many people said they feared rebel attacks. Rebels had attacked a location on the city's outskirts before being pushed back on January 13. Since December 2020, 60,000 people have fled the violence, many seeking refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
President[edit source | edit]
|Faustin-Archange Touadéra||United Hearts Movement||346,687||53.92|
|Anicet-Georges Dologuélé||Union for Central African Renewal||135,081||21.01|
|Martin Ziguélé||Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People||47,948||7.46|
|Désiré Kolingba||Central African Democratic Rally||24,381||3.79|
|Crépin Mboli Goumba||PATRIE||20,298||3.16|
|Sylvain Patassé||Central Africa New Momentum||9,250||1.44|
|Augustin Agou||Renaissance for Sustainable Development||9,009||1.40|
|Jean-Serge Bokassa||Kodro Ti Mo Kozo Si||8,907||1.39|
|Mahamat Kamoun||Central Africa for All of Us||7,833||1.22|
|Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet||Rally for the Republic||6,984||1.09|
|Karim Meckassoua||Path of Hope||5,153||0.80|
|Eloi Anguimaté||National Convention||3,975||0.62|
|Cyriaque Gonda||National Party for a New Central Africa||3,265||0.51|
|Reboas Aristide||Christian Democratic Party||2,593||0.40|
|Nicolas Tiangaye||Republican Convention for Social Progress||2,393||0.37|
|Source: ANE (2,560 of 5,448 polling stations declared)|
Reactions and aftermath[edit source | edit]
Former president Bozizé, who had been barred from running, was put under investigation after the results were announced; he was accused of aiding the armed coalitions that attempted to disrupt the election. His location was unknown in early January, amid accusations by the UN that he was colluding with the rebels.
After the publication of the results, Dologuele told AFP that the electoral process was a farce.  According to local journalist Fridolin Ngoulou, however, Mr Touadéra's victory was likely to prove lasting. Ngoulou commented: "Touadéra's vote was the expression of people fed up with armed groups who want to impose a setback for democracy. Touadéra will retain power as the entire international community supports these elections."
Fighting between rebel groups and the CAR's national army has continued around the country since the election. The rebels declared an intent to take the war to Bangui, but a combination of the army, UN peacekeepers and Russian troops have prevented them from doing so.
References[edit source | edit]
- "Elections 2020: The Central African President resolved more than ever". Afrique Panorama. 4 January 2020. (in French)
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- Jocelyne Nadège Kokada, RJDH, Arrivée à Bangui de 12 milles urnes et d’autres matériels pour les élections du 27 décembre prochain, 3 décembre 2020
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- Central African Republic: 3R Rebels In Accused Of Perturbing Electoral Registration
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- Gaël Grilhot (24 December 2020). "Centrafrique : à Bangui, peur sur la ville". Le Monde..
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- "C.Africa court confirms Touadera win, but only one-third turnout". msn.com. AFP. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
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