Following recent elections, officials in the Central African Republic have declared that incumbent President Francois Bozize won over the opposition:
The electoral commission says provisional results from January’s vote show President Francois Bozize has won re-election with more than 66 percent of ballots cast.
President Bozize came to power in a 2003 coup against Ange-Felix Patasse. Mr. Patasse returned to the Central African Republic to contest this election and, according to provisional results, finished second with just over 20 percent of the vote.
Mr. Patasse’s campaign intends to challenge the results before the constitutional court. An opposition coalition that includes a former prime minister and a former defense minister also intends to appeal the electoral commission’s results, calling the ballot a “masquerade.” President Bozize’s spokesman says his re-election is a great victory for the people.
In Niger, observers from the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressed confidence in the integrity and transparency of the elections. The electoral commission, which announced that turnout had reached around fifty percent, has begun tabulating results. PNDS-Tarayya (Fr), the party of leading candidate Mahamadou Issoufou, is feeling optimistic about its chances of victory.
Bozize’s win in CAR puts him in the company of many other African incumbents who have either won re-election in recent months or are favored to win their re-election contests – President Omar al Bashir of Sudan (re-elected last April), President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria (expected to win this April), and President Paul Biya of Cameroon (expected to win re-election this fall), to cite three examples. Incumbency obviously brings massive advantages, and not just in Africa. In contrast, Niger’s election, given that no incumbent president is running (though many of the candidates are former elected politicians), is an open contest. It’s good to see observers expressing confidence in the vote there.
Once results become available from Niger I will post them here.