Ethiopia: AU Mission warns politicians in CAR to avoid carefree statements

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Asserting that the many malfunctions observed during the 30 December 2015 presidential and legislative elections in Central African Republic (CAR) were "not enough to taint the credibility of these polls",  the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) has called on candidates and political parties to avoid speech that could harm the climate of peace and cause confusion in the country before the announcement of results.

In its preliminary statement on the polls, the Mission also urged the parties and the candidates to respect the verdict of the ballot and the use of legal means in case of litigation in order to preserve peace and stability in the country with a political history of military and political crises as well as several periods of political transition.

The statement, released Monday by the African Union Commission, called on civil society organisations in CAR to continue its efforts to recreate and promote the culture of citizen participation in the consolidation of democracy.

Signed by Head of Mission, Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, the statement said that Central Africans went massively to the polls and voted freely to elect their President and the assembly members.

According to the AUEOM, the elections were for the Central African, as well as for the international community, "a decisive step towards a return to normal constitutional order and  guarantee of economic and social development of Central Africans".

"AUEOM commends the (CAR) transitional authorities and the international community, especially the G8, as well as all stakeholders who have spared no efforts to hold these presidential and legislative elections at the end of 2015, as recommended at the Summit of Heads of State of ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States)," said Ndiaye.

In addition, the Mission has saluted the National Authority for Elections which, despite logistic constraints, managed to hold the elections on time.

Among other recommendations, the AUEOM has advised the Government of CAR, to provide the National Election Authority (NEA) adequate financial and human resources for the proper conduct of electoral activities and to ensure the presence of police officers in polling centres in sufficient numbers, both in rural and urban areas.

On the part of the NEA, the Mission has advised it to set up an effective communication plan between itself and the various outlets and their training on electoral assistance.

In addition, the NEA should strengthen the capacity of electoral staff for a better comprehension of procedures and work tools; take necessary measures for an increased participation of women as members of polling stations; and intensify actions on civic and voter education to strengthen the foundations of the culture of citizen participation.

Regarding women participation, the AUEOM noted the presence of only one woman candidate for the presidential and 174 for the legislative elections, despite the fact that women represented 48.36% of the electorate.

"Even if women are in the minority as candidates and represent only 26.8% of election staff as seen on Election Day and 12.3% of delegates, they were very active during the election campaign and they participated massively during the twin election of 30 December 2015," the Mission observed.

Reports say former Prime Minister Faustin Touadera is leading the presidential race with one-quarter of votes counted. There were 30 candidates. In the event of no candidate winning more than 50 per cent of the vote, a run-off would be held on 31 January.
-0- PANA AR/MA 4Jan2016

04 january 2016 11:23:26

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