Partial results in the race for president in the Central African Republic (CAR) indicate that two former prime ministers are neck to neck.
Faustin Archange Touadéra and Anicet Georges Dologuélé are reported to be less than 1,000 votes apart according to the Central African National Election Authority (ANE).
Dologuélé, who is being backed by former President Francois Bozize party has garnered 179,236 votes while independent candidate Touadéra has received 178,483 votes so far.
We are compiling the votes and we are releasing provisional results, but in the end it is the constitutional court that will have the final say
Already, over 50 per cent of the results have been counted from the December 30th polls. The elections are anticipated to lead the country out of three years of inter-communal violence that has ravaged the country.
With nearly two million voters registered for the election, the electoral body has stated that the turn out was massive and about 72 per cent of registered voters participated in the polls.
The two former prime ministers are among 30 other presidential hopefuls seeking to revive the nation.
As it is, the polls appear to be a two horse race, as no other candidate has more than 80,000 votes.
Meanwhile, two thirds of the presidential candidates on Monday demanded for a halt in the counting of votes citing irregularities. But ANE president, Marie Madeleine N’kouet Hoornaert requested that the candidates should await the full results which will be released on 8th January.
“Depending on the situation, one can dispute the results. But for us, it is not the ANE’s job to manage the litigation if there is a problem. I would like to take this opportunity to say to those candidates to wait. We are compiling the votes and we are releasing provisional results, but in the end it is the constitutional court that will have the final say,” Hoornaert said.
Since the country broke into conflict late 2012, CAR has been running on a transitional government for close to two years led by President Catherine Samba Panza.
Violence between Muslims rebels and a Christian militia group has led to the deaths of thousands and displacement of nearly one million people. The country still remains in sectarian divisions.