CAR parliament to elect interim president within 10 days, report says

Photo: CAR parliament to elect interim president within 10 days, report says / Other News

The Central African Republic parliament will elect a successor to former interim president Michel Djotodia within 10 days, Radio France International reported Monday.

The chairman of the National Transitional Council, Alexander Ferdinand Nguende, signed a decree late Sunday giving the country's 135 parliamentarians the power to elect a new interim president, dpa reported.

Political heavyweights, including former prime ministers Martin Ziguele and Anicet Georges Dologuele, are expected to take a back seat to be able to focus their time and resources on the upcoming presidential elections.

There has been a power vacuum in the country since Friday when Djotodia and prime minister Nicolas Tiangaye stepped down, bowing to pressure from regional leaders.

Heads of central African states held a two-day summit in neighbouring Chad last week to debate the worsening sectarian conflict in CAR, in which thousands have been killed and 1 million people displaced.

CAR parliamentarians who had traveled to Chad on Thursday on the request of Chadian President Idriss Deby remained in that country's capital, N'Djamena, to establish who would take over the reigns from Djotodia until elections.

The Economic Community of Central African States, which is headed by Deby, held Djotodia and his prime minister responsible for failing to stop the violence between Muslims and Christians during their nine-month rule.

CAR's transitional government struggled to restore law and order in the small nation rich in gold and diamonds, despite the support of more than 3,500 African Union peacekeepers and 1,600 French troops.

The European Union is considering deploying troops to CAR to help relieve the French soldiers.

The country has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis since Djotodia's Seleka coalition rose up against the government in December 2012 and overthrew president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March.

But even after Djotodia, who was sworn in as interim president in August, officially dissolved the Seleka coalition that brought him to power, he remained unable to end the violence.

About 2.2 million people - around half the population - need humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

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