Voting for Peace in CAR

Voting for Peace in CAR  Voting for Peace in CAR

Central African Republic votes on Sunday in elections seen as a crucial step toward restoring democratic rule and ending years of violence that have left the impoverished nation split along religious fault-lines.

Two former prime ministers, Faustin-Archange Touadera and Anicet-Georges Dologuele, are contesting the presidential runoff while authorities attempt to rerun a first round of legislative polls that were canceled over irregularities, Reuters reported.

CAR, one of the world’s most unstable countries, was plunged into the worst crisis in its history in early 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled President Francois Bozize. Christian militias responded to Seleka abuses, attacking the Muslim minority community. Thousands have died in the bloodshed and one in five Central Africans has fled, either internally or abroad.

“We expect our new president to disarm the fighters so we can go home,” said Emilienne Namsona, 47, who fled in 2013 to the M’poko displacement camp, home to some 23,000 internal refugees next to the airport in the capital Bangui.

“This is important because we are suffering here in Central African Republic. We want peace. We’re going to vote for peace,” she said.

A turnout of nearly 80% for a first round of voting in December was largely viewed as a popular rejection of the violence.