The Central African Republic (CAR) held presidential elections in December after months of delay. The election was relatively peaceful however, the results of the first round showed there was no outright winner (no candidate acquired up to 50 percent of the total votes) therefore, a runoff election is set to hold on the 31st of January 2016. Here’s what you need to know about the elections coming up at the end of the month.

The candidates at the runoff elections

Anicet Georges Dologuele: A former prime minister of the CAR, had the most votes in the concluded preliminary elections, with 23.8 percent of the total votes. Dologuele was the prime minister under former President Ange-Felix Patasse, who was ousted in a coup by Francois Bozize. Francois Bozize held on to power until 2013 when he was deposed by rebel forces.

Faustin Archange Touadera: He came in second place with 19.4 percent of votes. Archange Touadera was a prime minister under Francois Bozize. The elections will therefore be a tussle between supporters and sympathizers of former presidents Patasse and Bozize.

Election irregularities

On the other hand, Martin Ziguele, who came in fourth place in the preliminary elections, has requested for a manual recount of votes claiming there were irregularities in the counting process. A former minister himself, Ziguele accused the electoral body of the CAR, National Authority for Elections (ANE) of breaching electoral laws in the country. In a statement released by his party, the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC), he said they released figures that were “each day muddling up different (administrative districts) with varying rates of vote counting, rendering any checks and follow-up impossible.” The election saw 30 candidates contest for the office of the president. Some of the other candidates last week rejected the result of the elections, requesting for a recount too, until they stopped abruptly and began proclaiming their support for Touadera. They claim he is now the only “political alternative” for the Central African Republic.

Troops keeping the peace and destroying it

The Congo Democratic Republic has about 809 soldiers and 129 policemen in Central African Republic, part of the 11,000 men UN peacekeeping mission, due to violent clashes between the Christian anti-Balaka militia and the Muslim Seleka rebels. However, as recent reports have implicated Congolese soldiers in human rights abuses, the government is set to withdraw hundreds of its soldiers. Reports also say Congolese soldiers were paying children as young as 13 years old for sex. It was confirmed that the Congolese contingent will not return to the CAR and currently the future of Congo in other UN peacekeeping missions is unknown. Meanwhile, France plans to withdraw its troops from the CAR once there is a safe transition to democracy in the nation.

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