A constitutional referendum meant to help stabilize the Central African Republic (CAR) amid conflict between Muslim and Christian factions took place successfully in the country on Sunday (December 13), but incidents of violence disrupted the process in some areas, the top United Nations peacekeeping official reported said.
Addressing a Security Council’s meeting on the situation in the Central African Republic, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous noted that with Sunday’s Constitutional referendum, CAR has entered the final and most sensitive phase of the electoral process with the first round of presidential and legislative elections to take place on December 27.
There are 30 presidential candidates, including one woman.
Despite the many challenges and repeated attempts by spoilers to derail the process, particularly during the September and October violence, the Central African Republic is moving ahead with ending its transition in line with the revised electoral calendar - UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous
“Despite the many challenges and repeated attempts by spoilers to derail the process, particularly during the September and October violence, the Central African Republic is moving ahead with ending its transition in line with the revised electoral calendar,” he said, adding that three UN peacekeepers were injured in cases of violence and intimidation in Bangui, the capital, and in Bria.
MINUSCA (@UN_CAR) December 16, 2015
Voting was extended to December 14th in places where it was impeded, as the electoral calendar moves into high gear to complete the transition in CAR after more than two years of fighting between the mainly Muslim Séléka and mainly Christian anti-Balaka groups.
Ladsous highlighted the unprecedented registration of nearly two million voters, 95 percent of the estimated electorate, which demonstrates “the strong desire for change,” vowed that MINUSCA and the UN system will continue technical, logistical and security support.
“The entire international community must remain united in its uncompromising message rejecting any attempt to derail the political process from any quarter and to demonstrate that there will be consequences for those that seek to undermine the political process,” he added.
However, analysts have criticised the roadmap to end the crisis which includes elections as only a short term solution, calling on international partners and CAR transition government to address crucial issues such as disarmament and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation.
“In order to truly address the root causes of the crisis, we will need to support the new Government in working in a spirit of unity, inclusivity and reconciliation,” added Ladsous.
Ladsous also pledged MINUSCA’s continued commitment to a “robust posture” to protect civilians and called for strong action to ensure that the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses are brought to justice.
MINUSCA, set up in April 2014 to help restore stability peace after a breakdown of governmental authority, currently maintains nearly 11,000 uniformed personnel in the country