News24

CAR poll applications delayed

2010-03-15 18:04

Bangui - The commission organising elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) announced on Monday a delay in receiving candidates' papers, amid concern about the date of the poll set for April 25.

The Independent Electoral Commission had been due to start accepting applications for presidential and parliamentary elections on Friday.

But it said in a statement that this "has been put off to a later date" to allow for the installation of its local committees.

The voting panel gave no new date for candidates to submit their dossiers even though campaigning for the April 25 elections is due to begin in less than a month.

The delay added to the likelihood that the elections will not be held on the date decreed by President Francois Bozize, which the opposition has already rejected.

"The date of the elections, it's unrealistic," said Jean-Jacques Demafouth, leader of the former rebels of the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy.

Necessary measures

He said he was "not distancing" himself from the position of the Collective of Forces for Change, an opposition coalition of political parties and former armed movements that has demanded a change in the date for the elections.

The collective wants the withdrawal of the presidential decrees on the elections, arguing the country has not yet been stabilised and there has been no electoral census.

The poverty-stricken and landlocked nation has for decades been wracked by insurgency and on Saturday Minister of National Security and Public Order Jules Bernard Ouande said the government had nipped a coup attempt in the bud.

Ouande gave no details and none of the alleged plotters were identified but he said the authorities had "taken the measures required".

On Saturday election commission spokesperson Rigobert Vondo told AFP that the polling panel was compiling a voters' register "on the basis of the old list".

The same day, former prime minister Martin Ziguele said on the pan-African Africa24 television that it would be "impossible" to hold elections in April and called for a new date.