Voting is underway in the Central African Republic in a referendum that would allow president Faustin-Archange Touadéra to run for a third term.
Elected in 2016, President Touadéra was re-elected in 2020 after a vote interrupted by several incursions by armed rebel groups and marred by accusations of fraud.
Sixty-six year old, Touadéra is accused by his opponents of wanting to remain "president for life".
Around 1,9 million voters have been called to the polls. Provisional results are due to be published within eight days, and the Constitutional Court will announce the final results on August 27th, according to the National Elections Authority (ANE).
The draft of the new Constitution envisages extending the presidential term of office from five to seven years and abolishing term limits.
The main opposition parties and civil society organisations, as well as armed rebel groups, have called for a boycott of the vote.
In December 2020, hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary company Wagner and Rwandan soldiers were deployed to save the Bangui regime from an offensive led by an alliance of rebel groups.