Elections in the Central African Republic: Possible Scenarios
New York City : United Nations
Central African Republic, elections 2020
One month before the elections in the Central African Republic (CAR), the political scene in Bangui is increasingly polarized. The re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in the first round may deepen the discontent of many Central Africans who remain excluded from the benefits of the international aid that is largely captured by the elites, as well as accentuate the growing dislike of some of the region’s heads of state. Since 2019, the Constitutional Court has been ruling out some of the maneuvers of the presidential majority to unilaterally modify the legal framework of the elections, such as the constitutional amendment proposed in April 2020 to extend the mandate of President Touadéra and members of parliament should the elections be postponed because of force majeure (in this specific case, the COVID-19 pandemic). However, given the influence of the executive over the National Election Authority and the absence of an international observation mission, there will not be any impartial arbitrators of the elections. In this context of polarization, the risk of irregularities and fraud that may undermine the credibility of the electoral process is extremely high. This threatens the reforms that should have ended the recurring cycle of sectarian violence and built a more inclusive Central African society, chiefly by addressing the issue of citizenship, the divide between Bangui and the peripheries, and governance. It also risks re-igniting frustrations and tensions and creating the conditions for a new rebellion.