2005 Parliamentary election results
|Party/[Coalition]||Number of seats (105)|
|National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" [KNK]||42|
|Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC)||11|
|Central African Democratic Rally (RDC)||8|
|Social Democratic Party (PSD)||4|
|Patriotic Front of Progress (FPP)||2|
|Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP)||2|
|Londo Association (Londo)||1|
2005 Presidential election results
|Candidate (Party) [Coalition]||First round||Second round|
|Francois Bozize [KNK]||42,97%||64,6%|
|Martin Ziguele (MLPC)||23,53%||35,4%|
|Andre Kolingba (RDC)||16,36%|
|Jean-Paul Ngoupande (PUN)||5,08%|
|Charles Massi (Fodem)||3,22%|
|Abel Goumba (FPP)||2,51%|
|Auguste Boukanga (URD)||0,8%|
|Olivier Gabirault (ADP)||0,66%|
Since independence in 1960, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced a troubled history that has been characterised by several power struggles that reflect in the current political instability. As with most former African colonies, the void left by the colonisers resulted in a series of military coups and violent conflicts to the detriment of the local population, and resulting in economic marginalisation and dire poverty.
CAR is no exception as the French, in the process of decolonisation, placed Barthélemy Boganda as an effective proxy ruler. Boganda died in a plane crash in 1959, after which his cousin David Dacko replaced him.
Dacko was eventually deposed in 1966, following a bloodless coup, which led to Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa as President of the Republic. Bokassa’s first act was to abolish the 1959 Constitution and centralise power in the Presidency, thus, effectively making the CAR a military-ruled single party State. Bokassa also abolished the National Assembly and replaced it with the Revolutionary Council.
In 1976, Bokassa promulgated a new constitution that effectively transformed the country into a constitutional monarchy where he gave himself the title Emperor Bokassa I. Between 1976 and 1979, Bokassa’s rule was characterised by gross human rights atrocities.
Dacko and further coups
With the increasing scale of human rights violations, former President Dacko led a successful French-backed coup against Bokassa in 1979. Dacko assumed the Presidency and promoted economic and political reforms with little success. After two years in power, he was deposed in a bloodless coup by General André Kolingba.
Kolinga ruled for several years in the face of mounting pressure to democratise. The creation of a new political party, the Central African Democratic Rally, in 1986, indicated the mounting pressure to revert to civilian rule. In the same year, a new constitution was ratified through a referendum, under which Kolingba was sworn in as President.
Shortly after Kolingba was elected, he announced plans for the CAR to move towards a multiparty system through an election in 1993. Ange-Félix Patassé won a second-round victory in the election, and was re-elected for a second term in 1999.
Patasseé’s presidency was troubled by labour unrest, ethnic flare-ups and a series of mutinies and coups. However, he was able to maintain power up until March 15, 2003, largely owing to the support of the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission (Minurca).
Minurca’s departure from the capital, Bangui, signalled the beginning of the end for Patassé, who faced mounting unrest, specifically from within the military and from former Army Chief of Staff François Bozizé. During Patassé’s rule, Bozizé launched several coups in an attempt to oust the President, and finally succeeded in 2003 by taking over the capital, suspending the constitution, dissolving the National Assembly and declaring himself President.
François Bozizé and the civil war
During his Presidency, Bozizé went a long way to restoring rule in the country and promoting national reconciliation through the passing of a new constitution in 2004, followed by a general election in 2005 in which he defeated former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé in a second-round runoff.
The flash of political stability that came with Bozizé’s Presidency, however, did not last long as rebel activity in the northern parts of the country began to flare-up in 2006. The subsequent fighting between rebel forces and government troops resulted in the displacement of some 300 000 people.
Despite the Libyan government brokering a peace deal between the government and the rebel group, the Democratic Front of the Central African People, there were several splinter rebel factions that did not recognise the agreement and signed separate deals with the government.
The Comprehensive Peace Accord and the Inclusive Political Dialogue
The most inclusive deal that was brokered between the government and the rebel forces is that of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), which generally encompasses CAR’s main rebel factions; however, a small number remain hostile to the government. The terms of the CPA provide amnesty to former rebel soldiers.
The CPA was advanced through the implementation of the Inclusive Political Dialogue (IPD), which was intended to end the instability in the country and bring an end to civil conflict. Recommendations in the IPD included the establishment of a government of national unity and an independent electoral committee, with the goal of hosting democratic elections. These elections were scheduled for 2010, but were subsequently postponed until January 23, 2011.
Being a general election, the CAR will hold both Parliamentary and Presidential elections. The National Assembly consists of 105 members elected by popular vote to serve a five-year term. Currently, parties aligned to President Bozizé control 81 seats in the National Assembly.
The country’s President is decided by direct popular vote to serve a five-year term. The President appoints the Vice-President, Prime Minister, members of the Cabinet, top military officials and managers of national parastatals.
The run-up to the election has been controversial with the opposition complaining that the head of the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) is acting solely in the interest of President Bozizé. Jean-Jacques Demafouth, the head of a former rebel movement, has threatened to boycott the process and has demanded the resignation of the CEI head, whom he calls a Bozizé ally.
Demafouth is not the only one to voice concern over the CEI’s independence. Nicolas Tiangaye, of the Republican Convention for Social Progress, argues that CEI head Joseph Binguimale, has trampled the electoral code and has shown his complete allegiance to Bozizé.
Subsequently, a number of opposition parties have boycotted the process, which is likely to hand Bozizé and the ruling National Convergence Party a landslide victory. The situation is worrying, given the fact that the CAR has only recently emerged from a civil war and political stability is on a knife-edge.
IOL. Opposition parties leave CAR elections body (January 15, 2011)
VOA. Analyst: CAR voters sceptical of free, fair election Sunday (January 19, 2011).
CIA World Factbook. Background note: Central African Republic (January 15, 2011).
African Elections Database. Elections in the Central African Republic (January 15, 2011).