afrol News, 16 March - François Bozizé, President of the Central African Republic, has announced his candidacy at the upcoming 25 April presidential elections. Several opposition groups have already announced they will boycott the polls.
The incumbent, speaking yesterday at the Barthélémy Boganda stadium in the capital, Bangui, announced he had accepted to stand for re-election, representing the Kwa na Kwa labour party founded by himself in August 2009.
President Bozizé in February decreed that the impoverished nation were to hold elections on 25 April. The electoral campaigns were to be organised between 12 and 23 April, the same decree said. At the same time, parliamentary elections will be held.
The incumbent seized power in Bangui through a military coup in March 2003. Two years later, he was elected President, gaining 43 percent in the first round of the popular vote in a poll that has been described as relatively free and fair. In the second poll round, he won over former PM Martin Ziguélé with 64 percent of the vote.
Several minor opposition parties in the Central African Republic already in February announced they would boycott this year's presidential elections. Some groups alleged elections would in anyway be rigged, referring to experiences with President Bozizé's rule. Other complain they were given too little time to prepare for the polls.
e Central African elections has been disturbed by a government claim of a coup plot this weekend. Opposition forces claim President Bozizé has fabricated the coup threat.
The alleged coup plot could have great implications for the upcoming elections as government sources imply President Bozizé's main opponent is involved. Ex-President Ange-Félix Patassé, who was toppled by Mr Bozizé in 2003, was said to be implicated in the plot.
Mr Patassé was forced to flee the country for several years after the coup. Last year, he was allowed to return to Bangui, and he has strongly indicated his interest in standing candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The ex-President would be President Bozizé main challenger, observers held.
But his alleged implication in a coup plot could give President Bozizé pretence to detain Mr Patassé or otherwise bar him from the elections. Ex-President Patassé has already strongly denied any involvement in the alleged coup plot.
President Bozizé will in any case be favourite to win the upcoming elections. His power basis remains broad and the Central African leader is known to be keen to keep hold on to power.
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