CAR poll complaints mount
Bangui - Complaints mounted on Monday of irregularities and fraud in presidential elections in the Central African Republic at the weekend that are expected to hand another term to the incumbent Francois Bozize.
Candidates standing against Bozize in Sunday's poll claimed false identification cards were in circulation and voting lists were wrong, while the national team of observers said the vote was badly organised.
"Everyone complained about the bad organisation especially concerning the electoral lists which were put up late, in certain areas did not exist, or were in areas which were not the right ones," said Fulgence Zeneth, head of the National Election Observatory.
However a strong voter turnout and the fact that voting was held across the country were "reasons for satisfaction", he said.
One of challengers, former prime minister Martin Ziguele, reiterated charges that false voter registration cards were in circulation and alleged that Bozize's men had tried to take ballot boxes.
"There were thousands of false cards about, and electoral lists exceeded by far the number of voters registered," he told AFP.
In Bocaranga in the west, the head of a voting station "fired shots into the air to make the assessors leave", he said.
Some of his associates had received death threats in the capital Bangui and "in several areas of the country the president's guard tried to remove the ballot boxes without being able to", he said.
Complaints about incorrect electoral lists and fake voter cards were also raised by the team for former president Ange-Felix Patasse, considered the incumbent's strongest challenger.
They would be referred to the election authority and constitutional court, his spokesperson Guy-Simple Kodegue said.
Provisional results are expected over the next week, after which the constitutional court has a fortnight to validate them or voice objections.
The Central African Republic ranks as among the poorest countries in the world, despite a wealth of raw materials such as uranium, diamonds and wood, with its progress held back by years of instability.
Bozize took power in a coup in 2003 and was elected in 2005 in a vote disputed by the opposition.