Reconciliation and recovery are the huge tasks facing the Central African Republic’s new President Faustin-Archange Touadera, named the winner of a run-off election that it is hoped will turn the page on years of violent turmoil.
Former prime minister Touadera won 62.71 percent of votes cast in the Feb. 14 election, according to provisional results announced by the National Elections Authority (ANE).
His defeated rival Anicet Dologuele, also an ex-premier, topped the first round. He says he will accept the results for the sake of peace, despite what he called “massive fraud” in the latest ballot.
Touadera’s spokesman called for calm and asked the country’s population of 5 million to accompany the new leader in his pursuit of “reconciliation and recovery”.
Foreign observers have praised the peaceful nature of the polls but have not yet commented on Saturday’s results.
The Central African Republic descended into chaos in 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the country, sparking reprisals from government militias.
Thousands of people have died and a fifth of the population have fled their homes, either internally or abroad, to escape the violence, leaving the impoverished country divided along ethnic and religious lines.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the peaceful holding of elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) this past Sunday, calling for the timely holding of the second round of legislative elections to complete the political transition process.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban took note of the announcement of the provisional results of the presidential run-off elections held on 14 February in the CAR, congratulating presidential candidate Faustin Archange Touadéra for his victory, according to provisional results.
“The Secretary-General also extends his appreciation to presidential candidate Mr. Anicet Dologuele for the spirit of statesmanship demonstrated through his concession speech,” Mr. Ban said.
The Secretary-General also called on all political leaders and national stakeholders to continue to “maintain the constructive atmosphere and for all actors to maintain their commitments in line with the electoral Code of Conduct.”
Calling on the Transitional Authorities to complete the electoral process through the timely holding of the second round of legislative elections, Mr. Ban reiterated the commitment of the UN to continue providing its full support to the Transitional Authorities to ensure the completion of the political transition process by 31 March.
The UN has played a major role in seeking to restore peace in the CAR, with military and police units from the 11,000-strong UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country (MINUSCA) joining soldiers from the French Sangaris force and local security teams last 30 December at polling stations to ensure a peaceful vote.
After nine months of improved stability in CAR, a new wave of inter-communal violence erupted this past September, killing at least 130 people, injuring 430 others, and triggering an 18 per cent increase in the number of internally displaced persons to 447,500.