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Court in Central African Republic Upholds Rule of Law


FILE - Elections in Bangui in 2011.

Officials in the Central African Republic are working diligently to prepare for long-awaited national elections despite some organizational challenges.

Officials in the Central African Republic are working diligently to prepare for long-awaited national elections despite some organizational challenges.

Vote organizers face difficult circumstances as they seek to find solutions to address the country’s vast interior and minimal infrastructure, and bring the ballot to all eligible voters. Owing to these challenges, voter registration is behind schedule in some provinces and officials continue to work to compile an accurate voter list.

Further, before the elections can be held, the public also has to vote on a new constitution designed to form the base of the next government. The Transitional National Council finalized a draft of the constitution on August 30, and the national referendum is scheduled for October 4.

Elections were originally due in February, but have already been postponed twice. The United Nations, which has a 12,000-strong peacekeeping mission in the country, and partner nations have warned that significant delays beyond the current elections calendar could worsen security.

Nevertheless, as work to prepare for the vote continues, some progress has been made in laying the groundwork for credible elections that usher in a legitimately elected government. The C.A.R.’s transitional constitutional court upheld a clause in the transitional national charter on August 28 that bars current and former senior transitional government members from running when the vote finally is held.

The United States commends the court for its decision, which upholds the rule of law and provides a clear signal to the people of CAR that political authority in their country is bound by the tenets of the interim constitution, not arbitrary decisions. We call upon all members of the transitional government, past and future, to respect the court’s ruling.

The United States further commends the constitutional court for its strong rulings in January and July in favor of including refugees in the elections, an important decision that seeks to ensure that the elections are representative and that CAR’s future is inclusive of its entire population. We call upon the transitional government, including those in charge of elections preparations, to reinforce the spirit of the decision by redoubling efforts to organize and expand elections preparations.

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