Voters in the Central African Republic went to the polls Sunday in the final round of presidential elections and in a re-run of elections to the national assembly.
Polling stations were relatively quiet this morning, with just a trickle of people voting at several centers, but in the afternoon VOA saw many more people arriving to vote.
Georges Anicet Dologuele, one of the two candidates in the presidential run off, spoke to reporters outside Bangui city hall.
He wished everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and said that as Valentine’s Day is a festival of love he would like Central Africans to think of voting as an act of love for the country.
There was a livelier atmosphere outside the Boganda high school in Bangui where the other presidential challenger Faustin Archange Touadera went to cast his ballot.
He said he felt serene.
“In view of what we’ve seen in the rallies and meetings during the campaign, which have often been very well attended”, he says, “I think our compatriots have heard the message and they’ll act on it at the polling stations.”
There were 30 candidates in the first round of the presidential election, 20 of whom have since said they are backing Touadera while three say they’re backing Dologuele.
Many of those voters may abstain in the second round.
Second round abstentions
Dologeuele said it was too early to say if there would be many abstentions.
Only a few voters VOA spoke to were willing to say how they’d voted.
This student said he voted for Touadera because he was paid his bursary regularly during the time Touadera was prime minister up until 2103, and he thought Touadera had done other good things – such as paying government workers regularly and upgrading some roads.
This man said he voted for Dologuele, because he embodies change whereas if the other candidate is elected, he said, it will be more of the same.
First round results cancelled
The first round of the legislative elections last month was so flawed with irregularities the results were cancelled. The head of the African Union election observer Mission in CAR Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye said this time round the polling stations seem to have enough ballot papers.
He also said he’d heard teachers have been recruited to improved the reporting of results from polling stations, so there has been a bit of improvement, as he put it, since the first round of the legislative elections.