Central African Republic’s Highest Court Approves Presidential Term Extension and Electoral Changes.
The top court of the Central African Republic has given the green light to the July referendum’s outcome, which brings changes to the presidential term length and redefines the eligibility for running in presidential elections.
According to the court’s declaration, an overwhelming 95% majority supported the vote, with a turnout of slightly over 57%.
The revised law introduces a seven-year presidential term, allowing incumbents to seek re-election without limitations. The changes also establish the role of a vice-president, who will be appointed by the president, and transition to a unicameral parliament, effectively eliminating the senate.
Additionally, the amended law includes provisions that bar politicians with dual citizenship from pursuing the presidency and increases the number of supreme court justices from nine to 11.
Last September, the top court had dismantled the committee responsible for crafting the new legislation. The president of the court, Daniele Darlan, was retired under duress around the same time.
Opposition parties and civil society organizations within the country had called for a boycott of the referendum. They argued that the revised law was strategically designed to ensure President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s indefinite stay in power. Critics contended that the constitutional review committee had received directives from Russia.
President Touadéra is supported by the Russian private military company, Wagner Group. Ahead of the referendum, additional Wagner fighters were deployed to enhance security.
The Central African Republic, abundant in diamonds and gold, has grappled with conflict and political instability since gaining independence from France in 1960.