Poll boycott looms in CAR
Bangui - The opposition and former rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) warned on Wednesday they would boycott presidential and legislative elections in the country if they are held on May 16 as planned.
"If they stick to May 16, (the opposition coalition) will not take part in the vote. No papers will be submitted for the presidential or legislative election," coalition spokesperson Nicolas Tiangaye said.
The elections had originally been scheduled for April 25 but a decree by President Francois Bozize published in early March put them off until May 16.
The opposition and former rebels had already rejected the postponement saying the destitute country would not be ready to go to the polls by then.
Bozize's move had been expected because of delays in preparations for the vote.
But the Union of Active Forces of the Nation (UFVN) coalition said 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 last week.
"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.
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.