Central African Republic top court confirms President Touadera’s re-election


CENTRAL African Republic’s highest court on Monday confirmed the re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, rejecting rivals’ objections as the government continues to fend off a rebel offensive.

The weeks before and after the December 27 election have been marred by a rebel assault on major cities. The rebels attacked the capital Bangui last week before being repelled by the army and U.N. peacekeepers.

The fighting has forced nearly 60,000 people to flee the country, according to the United Nations, compounding an already dire refugee crisis.

Ten of Touadera’s challengers said the election should be re-run, citing low turnout due to the violence as well as alleged voting irregularities.

The constitutional court rejected those arguments on Monday, declaring Touadera the winner with 53.16% of the vote. It did, however, reject ballots from two towns because of irregularities, reducing Touadera’s percentage from the 53.9% declared by the electoral commission earlier this month.

READ:   Central African Republic President Touadera wins re-election

“I am very happy and I thank the Central African people who renewed their confidence in me,” Touadera told supporters afterward. He said he was open to dialogue with his rivals but also promised to be firm with armed militias.

“No one who wants to work for peace should be rejected. But not those who want to drag the country into blind violence,” Touadera said. “The justice system will take care of them.”

The government and United Nations say ex-president Francois Bozize, who was forced out in a 2013 rebellion, is backing the rebels. He has not directly responded to that accusation.

More than 1 million of the 4.7 million people in the gold- and diamond-rich nation have fled their homes since Bozize’s ouster, and vast swathes of territory remain beyond the central government’s control.

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