On Thursday, officials in the National Election Authority announced that the presidential elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) will come down to a runoff between the two frontrunners, Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Touadera.

Election Officials Count Votes In The CAR

The runoff was announced because neither candidate received 50% of the vote in the first round, which is required to win an election outright. Mr. Dologuele came in first with 24% while the runner-up Mr. Touadera received 19%.  The two candidates both served as prime ministers in previous governments.

The elections are the first presidential polls to take place in CAR since a coup in March 2013.  Since the coup, the country has become embroiled in religious violence. Christian and Muslim militias fought brutal skirmishes with one another particularly in the country’s capital of Bangui.

The violence became significant enough to warrant the deployment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in September 2014.

Aside from Mr. Dologuele and Mr. Touadera, twenty-eight other candidates also ran for president. Twenty of these candidates have complained about irregularities and called for the voting count to be halted.  

The runoff election is set to take place on January 31.

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