BANGUI (Reuters) - Central African Republic President Francois Bozize dismissed his prime minister and dissolved the cabinet on Saturday, clearing the way for the nomination of a national unity government in line with a peace accord signed with rebels.
The government and the Seleka rebels, who swept to within striking distance of the capital Bangui last month, agreed to the creation of the transitional government at the end of talks in Gabon’s capital Libreville on Friday.
“The head of state ... withdraws the dispositions of the decree dated April 22, 2011, related to the nomination of the government,” stated a presidential decree read on national television.
A separate decree rescinded the appointment of Faustin Archange Touadera, who had been prime minister since 2008.
Under the peace agreement, the new government will be headed by a member of the political opposition and usher the country to a parliamentary election within 12 months to replace the current National Assembly, which is dominated by Bozize’s allies.
In exchange, the rebels agreed to a ceasefire, defusing the biggest threat to Bozize’s decade in charge of the mineral-rich former French colony and allowing him to complete his current term in office, which ends in 2016.
However, the rebels said they could take up arms again if the government failed to meet a list of their conditions in the accord, including the release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of most of the foreign forces employed to reinforce the army.
Seleka, a coalition of five separate rebel groups, launched its insurgency in early December, accusing Bozize of reneging on a 2007 peace deal that promised to provide jobs and money to insurgents who laid down their weapons.
Reporting by Paul-Marin Ngoupana; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Kevin Liffey