Aug. 13 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touaderá, has accepted this Friday the start of the procedures for the possible approval of a constitutional reform via referendum that would allow him to face, as opposition groups fear, a third term as head of the country.
“I cannot remain indifferent to the cries of the heart of my people, the repository par excellence of sovereign power,” declared the Central African president in a speech on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the country’s independence, delivered on Friday night, two months and a half after the majority bloc in Parliament presented its proposal to modify the Magna Carta.
The president now confirms that “it will be up to the Government to heed the National Assembly’s request” for a referendum — a procedure that would probably leave Parliament itself out of the process — because “the legal body is not immutable” and “must adapt to the social, political, technical and environmental developments, both national and international”.
Faced with the presumable intentions of the president to appear again in the elections, at the end of July some twenty political parties and civil society organizations created the so-called Republican Bloc, a force conceived to challenge the reform project, with the participation, among others of former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé.
Touaderá, in principle, should leave power in 2024, four years after a controversial re-election in December 2020, marked by lack of participation in the midst of a serious wave of violence. The Democratic Opposition Coalition 2020 (COD-2020) denounced the results and announced that it was withdrawing “completely” from what it described as “a calamitous electoral process.”
The African country began the last episode of the crisis as a result of the elimination of the candidacy of former president François Bozizé, who returned to the country at the end of 2019 to once again be a candidate for the Presidency, a position he abandoned in 2014 due to the lifting of the Séléka rebels, predominantly Muslims. Bozizé currently heads the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), the most prominent rebel group in the country.
To this must be added the presence of the Russian Wagner group, which has sent mercenaries to several African countries in recent years –including Libya, Mali and CAR–, which has caused suspicion among several Western countries, especially the United States. and France, for Moscow’s involvement in various conflicts on the continent.
Touadéra has repeatedly defended the deployment of mercenaries in the country to support the Army’s operations against the CPC and has stressed that “he should request all possible means” to repel the rebel offensive.