The country’s Constitutional Court has rejected a lawsuit filed by 13 of the 16 other candidates who argued the results were an outcome of “massive fraud."
The Central African Republic's Constitutional Court has confirmed President Faustin Archange Touadera's victory in last month's elections that were marked by poor turnout and threats from armed groups.
Touadera "is proclaimed to be re-elected president in the first round of the December 27 2020 elections," Chief Judge Daniele Darlan said on Monday, validating results that gave him 53.16 percent of the vote.
The court put the turnout at just 35.25 percent, a figure affected by the inability of many voters to cast their ballots.
The court rejected a suit filed by 13 of the 16 other candidates, who argued that the results were the outcome of "massive fraud" and insecurity.
Anicet Georges Dologuele had 22 percent of the vote, repeating his second place finish in the 2016 election.
MPs and supporters of President Faustin #Touadéra celebrate Constitutional Court upholding of results of Dec election in Central African Republic. He was announced winner, opposition say it was rigged, armed groups are threatening to attack the capital #Bangui #CAR pic.twitter.com/45fmjq8dLJ— Malcolm Webb (@MalcolmWebb) January 18, 2021
Election marred by violence
Touadera, 63, first took the helm in 2016 after a civil war that left thousands of dead and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Touadera, speaking at his party headquarters, said, "Did you see the willpower of the Central African people?
"Even when there was shooting, they still went out to vote. Why should we agree with those who want to prevent Central Africans from exercising their civic duty?"
In the run-up to the election, a coalition of militias tried to advance on the capital Bangui — an operation that Touadera said was an attempted coup fomented by his predecessor, Francois Bozize.
The opposition had urged the court to order a re-run, saying insecurity and alleged irregularities had marred the election.
The country’s electoral commission had provisionally declared Touadera as winner of the vote, which was marred by violence, with 53.9 percent.
The court reduced the score to 53.16 percent because ballots in two towns were cancelled over irregularities, the court said.
Two UN troops killed
Rebels killed two peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, the UN mission MINUSCA said, hours after the top court confirmed President Faustin Archange Touadera's re-election in a December vote marred by low turnout.
The peacekeepers – a Gabonese and a Moroccan – were killed in an ambush on their convoy near the southern city of Bangassou, a city that the UN said at the weekend had been retaken from armed groups who had seized it two weeks earlier.
The attack, the latest in a series blamed on a coalition of armed groups that mounted a failed coup bid ahead of the December 27 vote, brought to seven the number of MINUSCA troops killed since then.
UN special envoy to CAR Mankeur Ndiaye said on Monday MINUSCA had paid a "heavy price" but remained committed to "pursuing its mandate to protect civilians and secure elections".
The coalition had tried to advance on the capital Bangui on December 19 in an operation that Touadera said was fomented by his predecessor, Francois Bozize.
Last Wednesday, the rebels mounted their closest attack yet to Bangui, striking a location on the city's outskirts before being pushed back with the loss of a peacek eeper.
They were thwarted by government and UN forces, as well as Russian paramilitaries and Rwandan troops who were rushed to Bangui under bilateral security pacts.
On Sunday, a coalition of CAR's main opposition political parties, COD 2020, accused the UN's representative, Mankeur Ndiaye, of favouring Touadera.
It said, without providing any evidence, that the Constitutional Court "reportedly was pressured" by Ndiaye to declare Touadera victor, and urged the UN to launch a probe.
"We have not received any pressure, either from the president, or fro m the special representative of the UN secretary general, or from any embassy," Darlan said.
"The court has worked in total independence."