(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

17 MPs elected in 1st round poll

The electoral commission of the Central African Republic (CAR) announced on Sunday that 17 of 105 parliamentary seats were filled during the first round of general elections.

The chairman of the Mixed Independent Electoral Commission, Jean Willibiro-Sacko, said the rest would be contested during a second round of elections, set for 1 May. A run-off presidential poll, pitting CAR leader Francois Bozizé against former Prime Minister Martin Ziguelé, will also be held on the same day.

Willibiro-Sacko said those elected to parliament in the first round included former Prime Minister Jean-Paul Ngoupandé; Mireille Kolingba, the wife of former President André Kolingba; and a former Speaker of the National Assembly, Luc-Apollinaire Dondon-Konamabaye, who served during the administration of former President Angel-Felix Patassé.

Three parties were clearly ahead of the field after the 13 March elections. They were Ziguelé's Mouvement de libération du peuple centrafricain, Kolingba's Rassemblement démocratique centrafricain and Ngoupandé's Parti de l’unité nationale.

Candidates from Convergence Kwa Na Kwa, the coalition supporting Bozizé, failed to win a single seat in the first round of elections. Moreover, for most of its candidates there seems little chance of winning a seat in the second round.

Three of the 11 presidential candidates - Abel Goumba, Charles Massi and Henri Pouzère - will seek parliamentary seats in the May election. So will three members of the transitional government: Zarambaud Assingambi, head of the government's general secretariat; Dennis Kossi-Bella, minister of water and forests; as well as Sonny M’pokomandji, minister for transport.

Two of their colleagues lost out in the first round of polls - Marie Solange-Pagonéndji-N'dakala, minister for social affairs; and Daniel N’ditiféï-Boysémbé, minister of finance.

A total of 909 candidates contested the first round of the legislative elections.

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