Central African Republic residents turned out in huge numbers for presidential and legislative elections held on Sunday, despite cases of" />

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July 18, 2024
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Central African Republic Votes ‘Massively’ Amid instability

Central African Republic residents turned out in huge numbers for presidential and legislative elections held on Sunday, despite cases of rebels opening fire in some areas to try to scare away voters, the UN has said.

It has been reported that rebel groups that do not want President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who is seeking a second term, in power have attacked and threatened to disrupt the elections after the country’s constitutional court forced out several candidates, including former President Francois Bozize.

Touadera is considered the favorite in the field of 17 candidates. Vote counting began Sunday and full provisional results are expected by the end of the week.

After a slow start and sporadic gunfire in some towns, the head of the U.N. mission in the country said in a statement that there was a huge turnout.

“This morning, they (rebels) started firing, hoping to scare people away from voting. Yes, in certain areas, it is difficult but in many other areas, you can see people going out massively to vote,” Mankeur Ndiaye said.

There are concerns that a substantial number of the 1.8 million registered voters were not be able to vote in remote towns, especially those controlled by armed rebels.

Gunfire was reported in the towns of Bouar, around 435 km (270 miles) northwest of the capital, and also disruptions to the voting process were realized in other towns including Bossangoa in the northwest, and Bria in the east.

“The vote should not only take place in Bangui. I think that the elections should have been postponed. But as it is the law, it is my duty. I am coming to vote for my president,” said 31-year-old Thierry Yanga, who casted his vote in the capital.

The constitutional court on Saturday rejected an appeal from several opposition candidates for the election to be postponed. The government and a U.N. mission had rejected a postponement, for fear of a power vacuum.

The election will go to a second round if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

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