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Christian vows to be "president of national reconciliation"

Faustin-Archange Touadera, Christian and former rector of the University of Bangui, is the new president of the Central African Republic ...

The Central African Republic’s constitutional court has confirmed that Christian and former rector of the University of Bangui, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, has been elected as the country’s new President, reports Barnabus Fund.

The news – reported by national radio on Tuesday (1 March) and greeted with shouts of joy on the streets of Bangui, capital city of the Christian-majority country – follows Mr Touadéra’s victory in the run-off election against Anicet-Georges Dologuélé on 14 February.

Mr Touadéra – who served as prime minister under previous president, François Bozizé, between 2008 and 2013 – won with nearly 63% of the vote.

Despite claiming the elections were marred by widespread fraud, rival candidate Mr Dologuélé said he would not contest the results and urged his supporters to remain peaceful and “accompany the new president in his endeavour to rebuild the country”. Election monitors admitted that whilst fraud occurred at some polling stations, it would not have affected the final result.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been entrenched in conflict since March 2013 when President Bozizé was ousted by the Muslim Seleka. After months of killings, raping, and looting by the armed group, militant anti-balaka groups launched counter-attacks, intensifying the conflict. Anti-balaka misleadingly call themselves a Christian militia, but CAR churches strongly condemn their violent agenda.

The new government under Mr Touadéra will bring to an end the transitional government put in place in 2014 as part of a peace plan to resolve a conflict that has killed thousands and forced more than a million people to flee their homes.

Mr Touadéra has highlighted reconciliation and disarmament amongst his main priorities, saying he will be a “president of national reconciliation” and will look to “construct a lively democracy, peaceful, respectful of the rights of each citizen.”

Mr Touadéra – who alongside the promotion of peace will also seek to bring economic stability to the country – will be sworn in as president at the end of March, with the new government expected to be in place by mid-April following parliamentary elections.

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