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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK
CAR voters await election outcome
The incumbent president of the Central African Republic, Francois Bozize meeting and greeting supporters
Bozize was roundly condemned when he seized power
Votes are being counted in the Central African Republic after the second and final round of presidential and parliamentary elections.

Incumbent Francois Bozize, a former army head who seized power in a coup in 2003, is favourite to win against former Prime Minister Martin Ziguele.

Voters also cast their ballots for 87 members of parliament.

Election officials said the voting had been peaceful, but the opposition has complained of irregularities.

Final results are expected within 10 days.

In the first round of the presidential race on 13 March, Mr Bozize gained almost 43% of the vote, while Mr Ziguele won 23%.

There were 11 candidates in the race, of which three have since thrown their weight behind Mr Bozize.

Despite coming to power in a coup which saw widespread looting and destruction, Mr Bozize has gradually gained approval at home.

Mr Ziguele, who represents the main MLPC opposition party, is seen as being at a disadvantage because of his associations with the unpopular old regime.

Polling was overseen by about 300 national and international observers.

The CAR has a history of coups and army mutinies, as well as endemic corruption, and remains one of Africa's least developed nations.




SEE ALSO:
Profile of Francois Bozize
16 Mar 03 |  Africa
CAR: A classic African coup
18 Mar 03 |  Africa
Fear grips looted Bangui
18 Mar 03 |  Africa
CAR coup strongly condemned
17 Mar 03 |  Africa


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