CAR opposition rejects vote date

2010-03-31 17:29

Bangui - The main opposition coalition in the Central African Republic rejected on Wednesday the postponement of elections to May 16 saying the destitute country would not be ready to go to the polls by then.

President Francois Bozize issued a decree on Tuesday that pushed the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for April 25 to May 16, a move that had been expected because of delays in preparation for the vote.

But the Union of Active Forces of the Nation (UFVN) coalition said this did not go far enough and the elections should be postponed to beyond a constitutional deadline of June 11, when Bozize's term expires.

"For the UFVN this decree is not valid and the date that has been fixed for the election is not valid at all," coalition co-ordinator Henri Pouzere told AFP.

"It is not realistic to go to the polls on May 16," he said, citing delays in finalising a security plan, registering voters and revising the electoral list.

"For the democratic opposition, the date for the elections must be fixed to after the constitutional timeline," he said.

Pouzere said the opposition would meet in the coming days to take a common position. His coalition groups five other political parties and associations.

Bozize, in power since he ousted president Ange-Felix Patasse in 2003, has announced he will run for re-election. He won the last presidential elections in 2005 with about two-thirds of the vote.

Patasse, who returned from exile last year, and his former prime minister Martin Ziguele are among those who have also declared their interest in running in the upcoming elections.