Central African Republic ready for Jan. 23 polls

21:41, January 17, 2011      

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With just a week before the Jan. 23 presidential and legislative elections, the Central African Republic's government and the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) say they have got well prepared for the long expected polls.

"I want to confirm to you that we are ready for the Jan. 23 elections. The candidates have been campaigning since Jan. 10 and this will continue until Jan. 21," CEI spokesman Rigobert Vondo told Xinhua on phone from Bangui, the Central African Republic's capital.

The upcoming race involves incumbent President Francois Bozize, ex-president Ange-Felix Patasse who is an independent candidate, ex-prime minister Martin Ziguele of the Movement for the Liberation of Central African People (MLPC), ex-head of rebels Jean Jacques Demafouth of the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) and Gros Raymond Nakombo of the New Progressive Alliance (ANP).

Initially, there were six candidates, but on Jan. 8, CEI cancelled the candidacy of Innocent Justin Wilite, because he presented a bouncing cheque. "The bank rejected his cheque because of lack of funds," Vondo explained.

He pointed out that about 20 million U.S. dollars had been mobilized for purposes of the two elections. He however did not specify the exact amount contributed by the Central African Republic's government, although he indicated that the state went beyond the initial amount it was supposed to contribute.

Meanwhile, Blaise Narcisse Kongomatchi who is a member of CEI's national coordination spoke to Xinhua from Yaounde, revealing that the state's contribution had risen to about 12 million dollars.

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