(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Poll results out 22 May, official says

The Central African Republic's electoral commission is due to announce results of run-off presidential and parliamentary elections on 22 May, an official told IRIN on Wednesday.

"According to the provision of the electoral code, CEMI [the Mixed Independent Electoral Commission] has fifteen days [from the elections date] to proclaim the final results of elections," Jean Willybiro Sako, the CEMI chairman, said.

He added, "Inauguration of the new president will be done 45 days after proclamation of the results."

Voters went to the polls on 8 May, for the run-off, to elect a president and 87 out of 105 Members of Parliament. This followed 13 March general elections in which two of several presidential candidates qualified for a second round of voting: President François Bozize and his strongest challenger, Martin Ziguele, a former prime minister.

The announcement of the results will mark the end of a two-year political transition that Bozize launched when he ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse on 15 March 2003. Patasse was banned from contesting the poll.

On Tuesday, CEMI began publishing partial results of Sunday's presidential and legislative elections.

"The results we are publishing are from five districts of Bangui; results from the three remaining districts and from the provinces will be published once we receive and process them," Willybiro Sako said during a news conference on Tuesday in Bangui.

Most of the partial results showed Bozize in the lead.

During the 13 March elections, angry voters destroyed electoral materials in Paris, France, leading to the cancellation of the results in the city.

"This time, the vote went on smoothly in France" Remy Sakanga-Morouba, the CEMI spokesman, told IRIN.

He added that the results from the French cities of Paris and Bordeaux showed Bozize in the lead while in Lyon Ziguele was leading.

Polling in the CAR was smooth on Sunday, unlike that of 13 March, which was marred by organisational problems.

"We doubled efforts to improve the organisation of the second, I'm satisfied." Willybiro Sako said.

However, fewer voters took part in Sunday's elections that those who voted on 13 March.

"I think only one-third of the voters are participating, during the first round at this time the polling stations were overcrowded," Pierre Buyoya, a former Burundian president and coordinator of the observers, said on Sunday at a news conference.

He said the lower participation rate could have been due the fact that many voters decided against voting for either of the two presidential candidates.

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