, BANGUI, Jan 7 – Two former Central African Republic premiers, Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera, will vie for the presidency of the strife-torn nation in the final January 31 round of elections, provisional results showed Thursday.
Dologuele won 23.78 percent of the vote in the first December 30 round, trailed by Touadera, who picked up 19.42 percent, according to the results that still need to be officially confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
Dologuele, a former central banker who is 58, has come to be known as “Mr Clean” after his attempts to clean up murky public finances during his spell as premier from 1998 to 2001.
Touadera, also 58, is a former maths professor who served as prime minister under disgraced ousted leader Francois Bozize. He was considered an outsider among the 30 candidates running for the top job.
The National Election Authority (ANE) said turnout at the presidential and parliamentary elections reached a high 69 percent.
Nearly two million people in the country of around five million were eligible to vote in the elections, seen as turning the page on three years of sectarian violence, the deadliest since the country won its independence from France half a century ago.
Despite security concerns, the elections went off without major incident after initial delays caused by logistical glitches.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Central African Republic descended into chaos in 2013 after former leader Francois Bozize was ousted by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance.
Thousands of people were killed and around one in 10 fled their homes in attacks by rogue rebels on remote villages and brutal reprisals by Christian vigilante groups against Muslim communities.