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CAR court approves poll scrapping presidential term limit amid protests by opposition

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A court in Central African Republic has approved the outcome of the July referendum that removed Presidential term limits.

The changes, fiercely criticized by the opposition, will scrap the country’s two-term limit and extend the presidential mandate from five to seven years.

The Constitutional Court “validates and announces the definitive results of the constitutional referendum of July 30”,  its president, Jean-Pierre Waboe said in a ruling.

The country’s top court declared that an overwhelming majority of 95% approved the vote.

The new law further creates an office of a vice-president, appointed by the president, and a unicameral parliament, doing away with the senate.

It also bans politicians with dual citizenship from running for president and increases the number of Supreme Court judges from nine to eleven.

The top court had last September scrapped the committee tasked with drafting the new law before the court’s president, Daniele Darlan, was forcibly retired.

The country’s main opposition parties and civil society groups had urged a boycott, saying the amended law was designed to keep President Faustin-Archange Touadera in power for life.

They accused the constitutional review committee of taking instructions from Russia.

President Touadera is backed by Russian Wagner mercenaries. Extra fighters had arrived ahead of the referendum to provide security.

Diamond and gold-rich landlocked has been stricken by conflict and political turmoil for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

Mary Muthoni
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