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C.Africa president calls referendum on new constitution

Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera delivers his speech during his inaugural ceremony in Bangui Tuesday March 30, 2021   -  
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Adrienne Surprenant/Adrienne Surprenant / Collectif Item

Central African Republic

President Faustin Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic said Tuesday that he would call a referendum on a new constitution that would allow him to seek a new term.

"I have decided... to submit this project for a new constitution to a referendum," he said in an address to the nation posted on Facebook, without saying when the vote would take place.

Touadera's opponents have already accused him of seeking to extend his rule despite constitutional limits.

Touadera was elected in 2016 and was returned for a second term in 2020, despite widespread accusations of electoral flaws.

In October, he removed the country's top judge, Daniele Darlan, in what critics denounced as a "constitutional coup d'etat" after she opposed presidential decrees aimed at revising the constitution.

Currently a president can serve only two terms.

"There won't be a third term, but the count will be set back to zero, so anyone can seek a new term, including Touadera if he wants," the president's main advisor, Fidele Gouandjika, told AFP after the announcement.

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