14 April 2013

Central African Republic: Michel Djotodia Elected CAR's Interim President

The National Transitional Council, NTC, in the Central African Republic, CAR, on Saturday, April 13, 2013 elected Michel Djotodia as Interim President for 18 months, BBC reported. Djotodia, who had earlier proclaimed himself Head of State after his Séléka rebels seized power on March 24, 2013, was the only candidate in the poll.

Radio France Internationale, RFI said the NTC, made up of 105 political stakeholders, was meeting for the first time since its creation by Djotodia on the recommendation of sub-regional leaders. Observers say the vote that held in the capital, Bangui, in the presence of diplomats, gives legitimacy to the former diplomat whose Séléka troops overthrew the regime of François Bozizé. Reacting to his election, Michel Djotodia said it was the beginning of a new dawn for CAR.

He said there was no looking back as the task ahead was huge, promising to avoid the tribalism that has characterised the country's leadership in the past. The new President pledged that he and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye would not stand in next polls in line with the January 2013 Libreville Peace Agreement. Analysts say restoring security in the country is the immediate priority of CAR's new leader. A shootout between Séléka and gunmen in Bangui on Saturday reportedly left several people dead.

The creation of the NTC was one of the recommendations of a summit of leaders of the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, that held in Ndjamena, Chad on April 3, 2013. They refused to recognise Michel Djotodia as Head of State, calling instead for the setting up of the NTC to choose a new leadership for the country. The Council is made up of representatives of Séléka, supporters of Bozizé and civil society members. It will serve both as a law-making body and constituent assembly. Meanwhile, ECCAS leaders are expected to meet in another summit today, April 15, 2013 in Ndjamena, Chad to review the situation in the Central African Republic, the Associated Press news agency said.

Michel Djotodia is a former civil servant who fell out with François Bozizé and fled into exile before returning after last January's peace deal to become Bozizé's Defence Minister. His Séléka coalition of rebels seized power after breaking the ceasefire deal, accusing the government of failing to implement it in its entirety.

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