CAR: Newly Elected President to Focus on Peace

BANGUI, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 (CISA) – Central African Republic’s newly elected president plans to focus on peace and disarmament following years of war in the country, his campaign director has said.

“The priority will be peace, social cohesion and security,” President-elect Faustin-Archange Touadera’s campaign director Simplice Sarandji told Reuters on February 23.

“The emphasis will be put on the DDRR (disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation) program, then on the restructuring of the armed forces,” he added.

Former Prime Minister Touadera won a presidential run-off on February 20 according to preliminary results, setting the stage for the first elected government in three years.

According to the National Elections Authority, Touadéra received nearly 63 percent of the votes in an election that is expected to be a step towards reconciliation after years of violent.

Touadéra, 58 is a former mathematics professor and a former rector of the University of Bangui. He was prime minister under former President François Bozizé from 2008 until 2013, and quit just before Mr. Bozizé was overthrown by mainly Muslim rebels known as the Seleka.

Soon after CAR descended into turmoil a mostly Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka launched counterattacks against the Seleka thousands of people were killed, and nearly a quarter of the population was displaced according to the UN.

The president will focus on disarming the Seleka and anti-Balaka fighters with help from the international community, Sarandji said.

Elsewhere voting in Niger’s presidential and legislative elections extended for second day on Monday February 22 in areas where logistical problems prevented polling the previous day, delaying the preliminary election results.

President Mahamadou Issoufou is running against 14 other candidates, including Seyni Oumaru, leader of an opposition coalition.

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