Elections in Central African Republic, Postponed Several Times, Are Held Peacefully

  • 9 years ago
Citizens of the Central African Republic began casting ballots on Wednesday in long-delayed elections that represent the best hope of reuniting the country, one of the world's poorest, after three years of sectarian violence that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Heavy turnout was expected among the country's 1.8 million registered voters, nearly 40 percent of the population, and stores were largely closed so that workers could cast their ballots, a process that usually takes hours.
Many lined up outside schools and other polling stations well before the polls opened at 6 a.m., as United Nations peacekeepers from Burundi, France, Mauritania, Pakistan and other countries, along with 40 election monitors from the African Union, watched over polling stations.
Marie-Madeleine N'kouet Hoornaert, the president of the National Election Authority, said in a statement on Wednesday that some poll workers were blocking access to election documents and materials in an attempt to disrupt the voting.