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Year in Brief: CAR 2005 - A chronology of key events

JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril
MayJuneJulyAugust
SeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

JANUARY

4 Jan - Francois Bozize, who seized control of the Central African Republic (CAR) when he ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse in a 2003 coup, decides to extend to eight the list of candidates allowed to contest the country's presidency in elections on 13 February. The constitutional court had previously picked five out of a total of twelve candidates to run for president. Martin Ziguele, Jean-Paul Ngoupande and Charles Massi join the others after Bozize expands the list.
[Full report]

7 Jan - Bozize dismisses justice minister Lea Koyassoum-Doumta following claims she made on foreign radio that the political climate in CAR was unfair in the run-up to elections. She also accused Bozize of planning to rig the election after the constitutional court eliminated her party's presidential candidate from the race.
[Full report]

23 Jan - State radio announces that all candidates banned in December 2004 from running in upcoming presidential polls can now participate in the elections, except one: former President Patasse.
[Full report]

25 Jan - Elections are pushed from 13 February to 13 March following a meeting mediated by Gabon's President Omar Bongo. The postponement will allow more time to the national electoral commission to print voting cards and also give presidential candidates more time to prepare for the contest.
[Full report]


FEBRUARY

9 Feb - Eleven presidential candidates sign an accord, formalising an agreement they reached in January to give the country's electoral body control over voting and announcing election results.
[Full report]

26 Feb - Electoral campaigns begin nationwide, with the majority of posters and banners appearing in the streets of the capital, Bangui, a stronghold of Bozize.
[Full report]


MARCH

13 March - Voting takes place amid long delays at polling stations due to lack of infrastructure and logistical problems. Counting begins the next day, but takes weeks as results trickle in from the country's remotest areas.
[Full report]

15 Mar - Vice-president Abel Goumba expresses anger at his sudden dismissal by Bozize before the completion of vote counting. A presidential spokesman says Goumba was dismissed because the new constitution did not make provisions for the position of vice-president. However, observers say Goumba's refusal to join the coalition to elect Bozize cost him the vice-presidency.
[Full report]


APRIL

1 Apr - The electoral commission announces the results of the first round of presidential elections and says Francois Bozize will face former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé in a run-off election.
[Full report]

2 Apr - The electoral commission announces that 17 of 105 parliamentary seats are filled following the first round of general elections, while the rest would be contested during a second round of elections set for 1 May.
[Full report]

13 Apr - The second round of presidential and parliamentary elections are postponed by presidential decree from 1 May to 8 May, as it would have clashed with celebrations to mark Labour Day.
[Full report]


MAY

11 May - The electoral commission says it will announce results of the 8 May run-off presidential and parliamentary elections on 22 May. The delay in announcing the results comes as a result of irregularities, with Ziguele accusing Bozize's government of rigging the election and intimidating his supporters.
[Full report]

24 May - Bozize is declared winner of the country's presidential elections. International observers from French-speaking countries who monitored the vote said the vote was marred with minor irregularities that couldn't distort the outcome.
[Full report]


JUNE

9 Jun - Bozize calls for the first extraordinary session of parliament, which elects Celestin Leroy Gaombalet as speaker of the National Assembly.
[Full report]

11 Jun - The constitutional court inaugurates newly elected President Bozize in a ceremony at the National Assembly.
[Full report]

15 Jun - The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) announces that more than 8,000 people have fled from CAR into southern Chad over the previous fortnight to escape fighting that broke out in the northwest of the country along the Chad/CAR border following Bozize's election. The attackers were not identified.
[Full report]

18 Jun - Elie Dote, the newly appointed prime minister, names his 27-member cabinet.
[Full report]

19 Jun - A weeklong disarmament of 2,000 former combatants who joined a rebellion led by Bozize from October 2002 to March 2003 begins in eight districts of the capital and is expected to extend to the rest of the country's provinces.
[Full report]

27 Jun - The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) lifts sanctions it imposed on the CAR two years earlier, after the March 2003 coup in which Bozize seized power.
[Full report]


JULY

8 Jul - Ex-combatants begin voluntarily handing over their weapons - 250 guns, 24,000 rounds of ammunition and 396 mortars - to UN and government officials in the CAR's northwestern district of Nana-Grébizi. So far, the national effort has disarmed 1,500 former soldiers out of 5,000 that had already been identified.
[Full report]

18 Jul - The European Union (EU) resumes US $120 million in aid to CAR, which it had partially suspended following the coup.
[Full report]

20 Jul - The EU says it can only help CAR's cash-strapped government pay its workers - many if whom have not been paid their salaries for nine months or longer - if it reaches a cooperation agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
[Full report]

28 Jul - A UNHCR official says at least 400 people - mostly women and children - have fled from CAR into southern Chad in the past several days, after armed men close to former President Patasse raided their village.
[Full report]


AUGUST

1 Aug - Following a meeting between President Bozize and his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, in Paris, the French government says it will add $4.8 million to its aid package for CAR. The funds will be used to improve security and pay salary arrears to civil servants.
[Full report]

2 Aug - UNHCR says more than 2,000 Central Africans have fled into Chad in the past two weeks to escape village raids. There are reports of young girls being raped during the attacks.
[Full report]

9 Aug - Social Affairs Minister Marie-Solange Pagonendji N'Dakala appeals for local and international aid for thousands of people made homeless by heavy rains in Bangui.
[Full report]

17 Aug - Another wave of Central Africans flees into southern Chad to escape raid by bandits, with more than 4,000 arriving in the last 10 days, a UNHCR official says.
[Full report]

25 Aug - More than 50 soldiers begin rescue and cleanup efforts for victims of flooding in the southern and eastern neighbourhoods of the capital.
[Full report]


OCTOBER

12 Oct - Trade unions call on the entire civil service to go on a three-day strike to draw attention to the problem of their salary arrears.
[Full report]

13 Oct - Prime Minister Dote says the government has found at least 1,699 civil servants who have been receiving salaries illegally.
[Full report]

18 Oct - As part of the government's crackdown on ghost workers, three ministers are suspended for three months without pay following allegations that they misappropriated public funds.
[Full report]

19 Oct - Civil servants begin an eight-day strike over salary arrears.
[Full report]

29 Oct - Troops of the Economic Community of Central Africa States (CEMAC) are deployed to the northeastern town of Bria to help combat banditry.
[Full report]


NOVEMBER

19 Nov - Four days after an agreement seemed to have been reached to end their month-long strike, civil servants decide not to return to work until the government agrees to pay two salaries at once.
[Full report]

29 Nov - A loan from CEMAC enables the government to pay some wages to civil servants, who crowd banks in Bangui to receive one of the many months of salaries the government owes them.
[Full report]


DECEMBER

10 Dec - Around 100 riot police prevent striking civil servants from holding a rally in the capital. Labour Minister Jacques Bothy acknowledges that the police had acted illegally.
[Full report]

29 Dec - The African Union says unidentified armed groups who are allegedly close to former President Patasse may be preparing a major offensive against government forces in the north.
[Full report]

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