CAR: Voters in Central African Republic go to the polls in run-off elections

Bangui, Central African Republic (PANA) - Voters in the Central African Republic (CAR) go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of presidential and legislative elections with security, peace and the economy of the war-torn country being some of the most important issues.

With none of the 30 candidates who contested the first round on 30 December securing more that 50 per cent of the votes, Sunday’s ballot is a straight fight contest between Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin-Archange Touadera, both former prime ministers under President Ange-Felix Patasse and President Francois Bozize respectively.

The winner will take over from Catherine Samba-Panza who was elected as interim president by the National Transitional Council and assumed office on 23 January 2014.

CAR has been unstable for years and now has 2,660 UN police and military personnel in Bangui, under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), after the country descended into violence once more in 2014.

On Friday, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) urged the candidates to make strong commitments to invest in the survival, education and protection of children to ensure lasting peace in the country.

“The only way for the next President of the Central African Republic to break the cycle of violence for good will be to invest in children,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, the UNICEF Representative in CAR, in a press release Friday.

“Children will not vote this Sunday, their voices will not be reflected in the ballots, but the most serious political mistake would be to ignore those who will determine if the future holds a lasting peace in Central African Republic,” he added.

Many countries and orgaisations are asking the people of Car to cease the opportunity to bring peace to their country.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all Central Africans, including the candidates, to ensure that Sunday's presidential run-off and the new round of legislative elections, are conducted in a peaceful and credible manner.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban commended Transitional Authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) for their efforts to complete the transition process by 31 March 2016.

“Sunday's polls will bring the country closer to the end of the transition and a return to constitutional order. These are important steps towards political stability and long-term economic recovery,” said the statement.

The US on its part has pledged to help CAR find the peace and and stability it deserves after years of turmoil.

It strongly urged all candidates, political parties, and party supporters to use the country’s legal system to address any potential disputes.
-0- PANA MA 14Feb2016

14 february 2016 06:31:17

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