third-term project

Who’s who in the Central African Republic referendum?

By Jeune Afrique

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Posted on July 25, 2023 09:51

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s inner circle.
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s inner circle. (©Montage JA)

As Central Africans vote on President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s plans to rewrite the Constitution, who are the lieutenants pushing for his third term in power?

On 30 July, voters in the CAR will decide whether or not to approve the constitutional amendment proposed by Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his followers. In Bangui, few doubt that the result will be a ‘Yes’. The results will be published in the week of 10 July, according to sources.

The opposition believes that the main aim of the referendum is to give the current head of state a third term in office, which is currently unconstitutional. The referendum has come as result of intense mobilisation, both in the streets and on social networks, led by a number of prominent figures. Who is active behind the scenes, from the ruling Mouvement Cœurs Unis (MCU) to the National Assembly and the government?

The President announced the referendum on his Facebook page on 30 May, but it is not a new idea. On 22 September 2022, the Constitutional Court annulled one of his decrees putting in place a committee to write a new constitution, saying that the Senate, which was written into the previous constitution, had still not been put in place. Touadéra’s government promptly retired the president of the court, Danièle Darlan, and went into full campaign mode for a new constitution. Touadéra was elected to the presidency in 2016 and given a second mandate in 2020 after a vote two thirds of voters stayed away because of security concerns. He awarded mining licences to Russia’s Wagner Group in 2018 to pay for security services and the mercenaries have expanded their footprint in the country ever since.

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