The Central African Republic announced it would hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 13. The polls were initially scheduled for October 18 but were postponed due to violence in the capital.
A run-off presidential vote will hold on Jan. 24 if necessary, a statement by the electoral body said. The elections are intended to usher in a government with authority to restore order in one of Africa’s most turbulent states and pave the way for the departure of UN and French peacekeepers.
Until the start of the civil war in 2012, CAR experienced a decade of relative stability under President Bozizé. In March 2013, Séléka rebels seized the capital and Bozizé fled the country. Djotodia appointed himself president, suspending both the constitution and parliament. He appointed a weak transitional government and put a transitional charter into place. Djotodia announced his resignation in early January 2014, along with his prime minister, amid mounting international outcry over ballooning violence and human rights abuses.
The National Transitional Council (CNT) elected Catherine Samba-Panza as interim president on January 23, 2014. She beat her opponent, Désiré Kolingba, in a second round of voting with 75 votes to his 53. She appointed André Nzapayeké as her prime minister. In August, Nzapayeké resigned in the wake of the broken cease-fire deal. Mahamat Kamoun was appointed as the country’s first Muslim prime minister, though he lacked Séléka’s support.
In August a transitional council adopted a new constitution, which would be put to a referendum, a week before the elections – all the main political groups say they support it as it is likely to be adopted.