Amid threats of ongoing rebel violence, the Central African Republic will hold second-round parliamentary elections today for 49 run-offs and 69 first-round contests.
Last year’s first-round vote was marred by attacks from a coalition of several armed groups loosely aligned with the opposition, including suspected associates of ex-president Francois Bozizè—links he denies. The former president was disqualified from contesting last December’s presidential vote for past war crimes and continues to call for the elections to be postponed. Rebel attacks this year have caused scores of deaths and displaced 240,000 people from their homes, while militia groups hold two-thirds of the country.
This territorial hold will likely keep voter turnout low because militia groups will ban any elections in those territories. Furthermore, Bozizè has essentially called on opposition supporters to boycott the vote. Therefore, candidates aligned with incumbent President Faustin Archange Touadera are likely to take a majority of the seats.
Opposition groups will almost certainly not recognise the new parliament’s legitimacy. Given two-thirds of the country is effectively beyond the governing reach of Bangui, the capital, expect further violence and political instability in the foreseeable future as further run-off votes are likely.
John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.