Bozize to run for re-election

Bangui - President Francois Bozize will run for re-election in the Central African Republic in January but opposition figures were missing from the official candidates list released on Tuesday.

"We have registered six candidates for the elections," commission spokesperson Rigobert Vondo said on national radio.

Vondo said no opposition or former rebel groups had registered candidates to run for election before a deadline on Monday night.

Top opposition leader and former prime minister Martin Ziguele, who heads the Liberation Movement of Centrafrican People (MLPC), and Emile Gros Raymond Nakombo, another opposition leader, were among those absent from the list of six official candidates published by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Opposition and former rebel leaders threatened to boycott the polls last month after the commission brought forward the deadline and reduced the time allowed for candidates to register for the vote.

The first round of the presidential election originally set for April 2010 has been fixed for January 23 after two postponements, with a second round for March 20, if no clear winner emerges from the initial vote.

Bozize, who took power in a 2003 coup and was elected in 2005 for a five-year term, tops the candidates list.

Ex-president Ange-Felix Patasse, overthrown by Bozize, is a rival along with former defence minister Jean Demafouth.

Three other candidates are on the list: Justin Innocent Wilite of the newly-founded Congress for Centralk African Renaissance; Cleophas Azouroute, of the Kwa na kwa party of Bozize; and independent economist Kouet Fode.

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