More than half of the 30 candidates running for president in the Central African Republic’s national elections have demanded authorities on Monday to stop the vote count, alleging fraud.
Central African Republic citizens expect the Dec. 30 poll to bring stability to the central African nation following three years of conflict among Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-Balaka militias, which has caused the death of thousands of people and forced about one million out of their homes.
Some 20 candidates held a news conference to voice their concerns, after almost 40 percent of the country's vote had been counted. Around 16 candidates signed a declaration, warning that the shadiness could lead to unrest.
"The nature of manipulations fundamentally calls to question the sincerity, transparency and credibility of the elections," said Theodore Kapou, an independent candidate and spokesman for the contesting candidates.
"These serious shortcomings that have marred the electoral process will lead to the population's rejection of the results, inevitably causing new conflagration in the country."
By Monday, partial results indicated Faustin Archange Touadera, former prime minister, was leading with about 147,000 votes, followed by another former prime minister, Anicet Georges Dologuele, with almost 110,000 votes.
Independent candidate Jean Serge Bokassa, son of a late dictator, was running third with nearly 69,000 votes, as the most prominent candidate Bilal Nzanga-Kolingba, son of a former president, was in fourth place with over 50,000 votes.
Candidates have the right to object to the final results before the constitutional court finalises them.
In the former French colony, elections have been delayed a number of times. Central African Republic has been governed by an interim government, which is the second one since Prime Minister Francois Bozize was overthrown in March 2013.