Central African opposition pulls out of elections


Central African Republic’s main opposition coalition said it will boycott legislative polls next month in protest against what it said was fraud in presidential elections that gave putsch leader Francois Bozize another term.

Bozize, who has been in power since a 2003 coup, took 66 percent of the ballots cast in presidential polls in a January presidential vote, enabling him to take another five year term.

Opposition candidates including former president Ange Felix Patasse, whom Bozize kicked out in his coup, and opposition figures Martin Ziguele and Emile Gros Nakombo, cried foul. They have 45 candidates running for the 105 seats in parliament, Reuters reports.

Central African Republic is rich in diamonds, uranium and gold but instability and isolation, with roads often crumbling not far outside the capital, have discouraged investment.
“The fraud was massive: irregularities, ballot-box stuffing, disappearing ballot boxes, not counting some votes. We have noted all the places where this has been happening, but unfortunately the election commission is controlled by president Bozize,” said Patasse’s spokesman Simplice Kodegue said.

A member of Bozize’s government, who could not be named, said it would do all it could do ensure the opposition take part in the next parliament so it does not end up being “monocolour”.