CAR: Referendum Extended Following Violence

BANGUI DECEMBER 15, 2015 (CISA) – A referendum on a new constitution in Central African Republic (CAR) was pushed to a second day on December 14 after violence interrupted the first day of a voting.

At least two people were killed and 20 others wounded when heavy fighting broke out in Bangui as voting was under way on Sunday December 13, reported Reuters.

“Voting was due to end by the afternoon and results should be available within 72 hours,” said Marie-Madeleine N’Kouet, president of the National Elections Authority (ANE).

The new constitution which is seen as vital in restoring stability Burundi is set to replace a transitional charter that currently governs the country. Two million people were registered to vote at more than 5,500 stations.

If approved by voters, the new constitution will create a Senate and safeguard for freedom of worship and religious freedoms and will bar members of current interim government from standing in the December 27 legislative and presidential elections.

It will also limit the presidency to two terms. The country is currently led by interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, and Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun. About one-quarter of CAR’s 4.7m population have been displaced since March 2013, when Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew Christian president Francois Bozize.

Fighting has been ongoing between armed Christian groups and Muslim fighters since then, despite the deployment of the 11,000-strong UN force last year.

Pope Francis visited Bangui last month and called for peace and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims to end violence in the country.

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