Central African Republic to Hold Run-Off Vote on Jan. 31

The Central African Republic will hold a run-off vote on Jan. 31 because none of the 30 candidates in a presidential election last month got more than half of the votes in the diamond-rich nation, according to the electoral commission.

Former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuele obtained the most votes with 23.78 percent of ballots cast, Marie-Madeleine Koue, head of the election authority, told reporters in the capital, Bangui, on Thursday. The next closest candidate, Faustin-Archange Touadera, got 19.43 percent, she said.

Both Dologuele and Touadera have served as prime minister in the war-torn nation. Dologuele, 58, was premier from 1999 to 2001 before heading the Development Bank of Central African States. He is backed by former President Francois Bozize’s party. Touadera headed the government from 2008 to 2013.

The presidential election was postponed three times before it was held Dec. 30. It’s seen as a first step toward ending the lawlessness that has gripped the country since a 2013 coup by mainly Muslim rebels that ousted Bozize. The conflict has forced almost a million people to flee their homes, with more than half seeking shelter in neighboring countries.

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