AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Voting held to modify the constitution to allow the President to run for third term

Monday, 31 July 2023 referendum   constitution   bishops  

Bangui (Fides News Agency) - Voting was held yesterday, Sunday July 30th, in the Central African Republic for the constitutional referendum to allow the president, Faustin Archange Touadéra, to run for a third term.
According to local sources, the voting took place calmly and with low voter turnout.
The referendum to give Touadéra the chance to run for a third term was criticized by the opposition for fear the incumbent President is seeking to become "President for life". In June catholic bishops had expressed their concerns "on the pertinence of such choice on part of the government, considering the principles of democratic debate and, above all, the numerous sociopolitical and economic challenges the country faces" (see Fides 26/6/2023).
"We must avoid - they said - creating conditions that would lead to new sociopolitical disorder". Rather, there is a need for "developing action plans aimed at restoring peace, social cohesion and at creating job opportunities", learning "from the mistakes of the past, fostering equality, justice, brotherhood and honesty".
The Central African Republic has been struggling to emerge from at least 25 years of intermittent civil war. Moreover, the country has seen 5 coups since its 1960 independence, with a number of changes in the structure of the state. This is now the sixth republic, with eight constitutions. (L.M.)
(Fides News Agency 31/7/2023)