Central African Republic opposition calls for cancellation of polls

The Democratic Opposition Coalition 2020 (COD-2020), a platform of opposition parties of Central African Republic (CAR), has called for the cancellation and rerun of the recently-held presidential and legislative elections.

In a statement, the COD-2020 cited low voter turnout in provinces under threat from armed rebels and electoral irregularities linked to insecurity as reasons that prompted it to call for a “concertation of the active stakeholders of the nation before holding the new elections”, reports Xinhua news agency.

It described the implementation of the electoral process security plan, signed between the CAR government and the UN mission in the country (MINUSCA), as a “total failure” in ensuring “the security of voters, candidates, and electoral material throughout the country.”

Before the December 27 polls, the opposition had insisted on postponing the elections because of insecurity, but their request was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

According to government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kazagui, 5,400 polling stations, or over 85 per cent of the total, managed to open on Election Day, allowing for legitimacy and credibility of the polls, which took place in relative calm in the presence of MINUSCA across the country.

No major security incidents were reported, but voter turnout could be very low in rebel-controlled areas, he said.

Provisional results of the elections are expected on January 4.

The CAR’s National Election Authority has eight days to give the provisional results.

If no presidential candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote, a second round of the presidential elections will take place on February 14, 2021.

Sunday’s polls took place following the signing of a peace agreement in February 2019 between the government, which controls only a fifth of the country’s territory, and 14 armed groups.