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CAR: Mixed feelings ahead of the referendum on a new Constitution

Building apprentice Maturin Ketene in Bangui, The Central African Republic on July 24, 2023.   -  
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Central African Republic

Undecided Central African voters still have a few days left before casting their ballot on July 30.

The campaign for a referendum on a new draft Constitution is set to end on July 28.

The opposition has already called on voters to vote against the draft Constitution or abstain.

In Bangui, Maturin Ketene has high hopes.

"I'm going to vote because I've read the Constitution and I don't see any harm in it. So I'm going to vote for the development of the country, because in some of the articles they've talked about young people. So I dare to hope that there will be changes for the young people of the Central African Republic."

Other Central Africans are wary of the move by president Faustin-Archaneg Touadéra.

If approved, the new Constitution removes the limit of two terms to the president.

Moreover, the new presidential terms will last 7 years instead of 5.

"The idea of a new Constitution is not a good one,"  36-year-old entrepreneur Armand said.

"I call on Central Africans to be aware, to think carefully before voting, because the life of a State, of a people, depends on the Constitution it adopts. It is in this sense that I would say no, and this is my decision: I would vote categorically no."

Shopkeeper Fios doubled down:  "People are dying, there are rebellions, there are robberies, there is embezzlement. You see, the President (Faustin Archange Touadéra, editor's note) doesn't even think about managing any more. He only wants to serve his third term. It's not interesting. And myself, I've read the text there (the draft Constitution, editor's note) and there's nothing in it to guarantee the future of young people. So it makes no sense, not even to me."

Another major proposed change is the number of members of the country's Constitutional Court and by whom they are to be nominated.

The Central African Republic still battles a rebellion and a deteriorating economic situation.

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