Central African Republic: Ex-PM Touadera wins presidential vote

A former prime minister who placed second in the first round of balloting has won Central African Republic's presidential runoff vote, the national election body announced on Saturday, inheriting the enormous task of trying to restore order in a country where heavily armed rebel groups still control large swaths of territory.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 20, 2016, 23:50 PM IST

Bangui: A former prime minister who placed second in the first round of balloting has won Central African Republic's presidential runoff vote, the national election body announced on Saturday, inheriting the enormous task of trying to restore order in a country where heavily armed rebel groups still control large swaths of territory.

Faustin Archange Touadera, 58, earned 62 percent of the vote held Feb. 14, according to provisional results announced Saturday by Marie-Madeleine Hoornaert N'Kouet, president of the national election authority. He bested Anicet Georges Dologuele, another former prime minister who earned the most votes in the first round and had been endorsed by the third-place finisher.

The turnout for the runoff, which was paired with legislative elections, was 61 percent, N'Kouet said. The results still need to be validated by the constitutional court.

Touadera served as prime minister for Francois Bozize, the president of a decade who was toppled by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition in 2013. The Seleka installed their leader, Michel Djotodia, as head of state that year, but widespread human rights abuses prompted reprisal attacks from Christian militia fighters known as the anti-Balaka.

Djotodia stepped down in early 2014 under intense international pressure, and the country has been run by a transitional government until now.

Many hope the vote will solidify a tentative peace after more than two years of sectarian fighting left untold thousands dead and forced nearly 500,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.