Bangui – The Central African Republic is to hold its first local elections in more than three decades, the strife-torn country’s vote supervisor said on Thursday.
Polling day has been set for September 11, the National Elections Authority (ANE) told AFP.
“These will be the first municipal elections since 1988,” said spokesman Theophile Momokoama.
The world’s second poorest country according to UN development benchmarks, the CAR has struggled for years with intra-community violence and political turmoil.
In the absence of elected local representatives, the government has been appointing officials with the de facto power of a mayor, Momokoama said.
The estimated $15 million (13.23 million euro) cost of staging the vote will be borne mainly by international donors, notably the European Union.
The CAR spiralled into bloodshed after its then president, Francois Bozize, was overthrown in 2013.
As conflict flared along sectarian lines, former colonial power France intervened militarily, and UN peacekeepers later deployed.
After a transition period, former prime minister Faustin Archange Touadera was voted in as president in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020.
But he has wielded only partial authority over a country where powerful armed groups still hold sway.
The December 2020 presidential and legislative vote was marked by very low turnout, as electors in rebel-held areas were unable to cast their ballot.
In the runup to polling day, armed groups tried to advance on the capital Bangui but were thwarted after Russia and Rwanda flew in armed support.
With Russian backing, the CAR’s armed forces have recovered most of the country and pushed the rebels out of the major towns, but sporadic violence continues.
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