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World News

Central African Republic MPs vote to keep Dec. 27 election on track

BANGUI (Reuters) - Central African Republic’s parliament voted on Wednesday to grant the electoral body extra time to register voters, an amendment that keeps a presidential election on track for a first round on Dec. 27 despite opposition resistance.

Delaying the election itself could further destabilise the diamond-rich country, much of whose territory is beyond government control because of fighting between rival militias.

The election commission fell behind with voter registration due to the insecurity and additional disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, said Territorial Administration Minister Augustin Yangana-Yahote.

The motion to give the commission an extra month to compile electoral lists was approved after 10 hours of heated debate in parliament despite a boycott by the opposition coalition Cod2020.

It has called for the vote to be postponed, claiming that the disrupted voter registration raised questions about the credibility of the entire election.

“The government’s goal is to have elections in a cavalier manner,” said Cod2020 lawmaker Aurelien Zingas.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected in 2016, is expected to announce on Saturday his intention to run for a second term.

Deposed former president Francois Bozize has already said he will stand. He was overthrown in a 2013 rebellion by a coalition of mainly Muslim rebels from the north, plunging the majority Christian nation into a violent civil war.

Editing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Sam Holmes

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