Bangui – The Central African Republic’s top court on Friday annulled presidential decrees setting up a committee to rewrite the constitution, which had sparked fears Faustin Archange Touadera was seeking a third term in office.
The decrees “are unconstitutional and invalid”, the Constitutional Court declared, noting the basic law could only be revised after a Senate has been set up.
Opposition and civil society groups on August 27 staged a protest in the capital Bangui against changing the constitution.
The 65-year-old president was first elected in 2016, then re-elected in a highly controversial poll in 2020, but the current constitution does not allow him to run for a third term.
CAR authorities had in recent months organised demonstrations in favour of a revamped constitution, with more than 1 000 people turning out for such a gathering on August 6.
Less than a week later, Touadara said that “more and more voices are being raised to demand a modification of the constitution”.
His United Hearts Movement (MCU) in March had attempted to scrap the two-presidential term limit during a “republican dialogue” boycotted by the bulk of the opposition.
But the party rowed back on the idea in the face of public protest and criticism from the international community.
Touadera won a second term in 2020 with a 53.16% vote share in a controversial poll amid widespread insecurity in the CAR, which has been battling a decade-long civil war.
Less than one in three voters were able to cast a ballot in a country of some five million which the UN says is the world’s second least developed nation.
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