(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Elections postponed; possible candidate goes on trial

[CAR] CAR leader Francois Bozize at the presidential palace, the "Palais de la Renaissance" - May 2003

President Francois Bozize postponed the date of presidential and parliamentary elections for Central African Republic (CAR) only one week after authorising the initial election date.

The new date has been set for 13 February 2005.

Bozize signed a decree on Saturday postponing the elections, which he had set for 30 January one week before.

"The postponement will not disturb the electoral process as a whole," Jean Wilibiro-Sacko, the chairman of the Mixed Electoral Commission, told IRIN on Monday. "It will enable us to correct some organisational deficiencies."

"A [postponement] is the wish of many of the political parties," he added.

Campaigning for the elections will be held between 31 January and 11 February, according to a government communiqué read over state-owned Radio Centrafrique on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Bozize also announced that he would contest the presidency as an independent candidate.

Others potential candidates include the CAR's former president, Andre Kolingba, the former prime minister, Jean-Paul Ngoupande, and the former defence minister, Jean-Jacques Demafouth, whom the government has accused of murder.

The trial began on Tuesday in the CAR capital Bangui, though Demafouth remains in exile in France. He is accused of having ordered the murder of two military officers in the eastern province of Kembe.

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