August 30, 2015 / 2:24 PM / 4 years ago

Central African Republic court bars transitional government members from polls

BANGUI (Reuters) - Central African Republic’s constitutional court has confirmed the exclusion of past members of a transitional government from running for office in presidential and parliamentary elections due in October.

A 2013 transitional charter stated that members of the caretaker body would not be eligible to participate in the polls, which are meant to draw a line under more than two years of violence

However, the court was asked to clarify the charter’s provision after former Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and other senior ministers, who have since left the transitional government, announced their candidacies.

The country descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

The transitional authority was established to lead the country to fresh elections.

According to the court decision made public on Saturday, anyone serving in the transitional authority in ineligible “regardless of the length of time he filled his functions ... and whatever the causes for stopping these functions”.

Tiangaye stepped down as prime minister along with President Michel Djotodia, a Seleka leader, in January 2014 over the government’s inability to halt the inter-religious violence.

Crepin Mboli Ngumba, a former minister of state and spokesman for the transitional authority, denounced the court decision as “fanciful”.

“This decision, without a doubt, creates more problems,” he said. “Those who lit the fuse of this bomb will have to answer for it.”

Central African Republic’s presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for Oct. 18. However, they have already been postponed several times and preparations for the polls are running behind schedule.

Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alison Williams

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