CAR court sanctions outcome of constitutional referendum

The highest court of the Central African Republic endorsed the results of a referendum on Monday, revealing that 95 percent of voters supported constitutional amendments allowing President Faustin Archange Touadera to pursue a third term.

The alterations, met with strong opposition criticism, will eliminate the Central African Republic’s two-term limit and extend the presidential tenure from five to seven years.

The Constitutional Court “validates and announces the definitive results of the constitutional referendum of July 30”, its president, Jean-Pierre Waboe, declared at a court session.

The ultimate outcomes exhibited only slight alterations from the preliminary results disclosed by the National Election Authority on August 7th.

The official Yes vote was recorded as 95.03 percent, a slight adjustment from the earlier 95.27 percent, while the turnout was revised to 57.23 percent, down from the previously announced 61.10 percent.

The primary opposition parties and civil society organizations within the country had advocated for a boycott.

Ranked among the world’s poorest and most tumultuous nations, the Central African Republic (CAR), a landlocked country, has been entangled in conflict and political instability for the majority of its history since gaining independence from France in 1960.

At the age of 66, Touadera secured his initial presidential victory in 2016, subsequent to a French military intervention and the subsequent deployment of UN peacekeepers, which brought an end to a violent civil war characterized by sectarian divisions.

In 2020, he secured a second term, although the voter turnout was only a third of the electorate due to the influence of rebel groups that held control over significant portions of the country, intimidating voters.

In September of the previous year, the Constitutional Court delivered a significant setback to the proposed constitutional alteration, dismissing the establishment of a committee designated to formulate the new constitution.

Following this, the court’s president, Daniele Darlan, faced aggressive verbal assaults from supporters of Touadera and was subsequently compelled to retire forcibly in January of this year.

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