World Bulletin / News Desk
Polling stations have opened in Central African Republic’s elections that aim to reinstate democratic rule in the war-torn country.
Voting in the parliamentary and presidential elections started on time at 0500GMT in most parts of the country but was delayed for over an hour in some districts of the capital Bangui due to logistical issues, an electoral observer told Anadolu Agency.
Some 10,000 UN peacekeepers are patrolling across the country to secure nearly 5,000 polling stations and assist in the delivery of election materials, including ballot boxes and ballots, according to the UN mission.
Thirty candidates, including ex-premiers Anicet-Georges Dologuele and Martin Ziguele, and Karim Meckassoua, a Muslim former minister who has sympathizers both in Christian and Muslim communities, are vying to replace the current interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza.
The country’s constitutional court had rejected the candidacy of former president Francois Bozize in the elections.
Nearly 1.4 million voters out of a population of 4.8 million people are expected to take part in the country’s general elections that will end the transitional government put in place in 2013 when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then President Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
The rebels then installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as the interim president.
Djotodia stepped down in early 2014 to be replaced by Samba-Panza -- a Christian -- amid a wave of sectarian violence between the two communities.
The presidential election was slated for October 2015 in the war-torn Central African state, but was delayed due to the transitional government’s inability to safeguard the vote.