BANGUI (Reuters) -Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has won five more years in power by securing more than 53% of votes in an election that was marred by violence, according to provisional results announced on Monday.
The electoral commission declared Touadera the winner of the Dec. 27 election, saying he had secured enough votes in the first round to make a second round runoff unnecessary in the gold- and diamond-producing country.
Touadera, 63, has struggled to wrest control of vast swathes of the country from armed militias since first winning power in 2016, three years after former President Francois Bozize was ousted by another rebellion.
The presidential election went ahead despite an offensive by rebel groups who tried to disrupt the vote after Bozize’s candidacy was rejected by the country’s highest court.
“Faustin-Archange Touadera, having received the absolute majority of the vote in the first round with 53.9%, is declared winner,” Mathias Morouba, the electoral commission’s president, told a news conference in the capital, Bangui.
He said about half of the country’s electorate, or around 910,000 people, had registered to vote and turnout among the registered voters was 76.3%.
Provisional results of a legislative election held the same day will be announced at a later date, Morouba said.
Separately on Monday, prosecutors said an investigation had been launched into Bozize’s role in the rebellion intended to disrupt the election.
Bozize and other accomplices were being investigated for various crimes including sedition, rebellion, assassination and theft, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Bozize could not immediately be reached for comment. His party had previously denied the government’s accusations that the former president was plotting a coup, but some in the party have suggested that they are working with the rebels.
The vast but sparsely populated country of 4.7 million which is larger than France has struggled to find stability since Bozize was ousted in 2013.
Successive waves of violence since then have killed thousands and forced more than a million from their homes.
The United Nations, which has over 12,000 peacekeepers in the country, said in a statement that calm had returned to Bangassou, a town attacked on Sunday by rebels allied to Bozize.
“The situation in Bangassou is calm but tense, with the presence of armed elements in parts of the city,” the U.N. mission said, adding that 180 civil servants and workers from humanitarian organisations had sought refuge at its base.
(Reporting by Antoine Rolland, Writing by Bate Felix, Editing by Franklin Paul and Timothy Heritage)