Central African Republic - Political Parties
In 1946, all inhabitants were granted French citizenship and allowed to establish local assemblies. The assembly in C.A.R. was led by Barthelemy Boganda, a Catholic priest who also was known for his forthright statements in the French Assembly on the need for African emancipation. On 01 December 1958 the Assembly declared the birth of the Central African Republic with Boganda as head of government.
The first president of the Republic, Barthelemy Boganda, founded the MESAN political party (MESAN - Social Evolution Movement of Black Africa). Boganda ruled until his death in a March 1959 plane crash. His cousin, David Dacko, replaced him, governing the country until 1965 and overseeing the country's declaration of independence on August 13, 1960. Under his regime, MESAN occupied all 50 seats of the National Assembly.
The Central Africa Republic constitution provided for an 86-member national assembly, elected in single member constituencies on the basis of a two-round absolute majority system. In that system, if none of the candidates got more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round, then every candidate with more than 10 percent of the votes qualified for the second round. The candidate with the highest number of votes in the run-offs won the seat.
The final results of the 1993 legislative elections in CAR showed most seats to have been won by five major political parties. The Mouvement de Liberation du Peuple Centrafricain(MLPC), party of the in-coming President Ange Patasse, won 33 seats. The party of former president Andr6 Kolingba, the Rassemblement Democratique Centrafricain (RDC), won 14 seats. The Front Patriotique pour le Progres (FPP) of Abel Goumba won seven seats, as did the Parti Liberal Democratique (PLD). The Alliance pour la Democratie et le Progres (ADP) won six seats. The Parti Social Dgmocrate (PSD) and Convention Nationale (CN) each won three seats. The Forum Civique (FC) won two seats, while the Mouvement DgmocratiqueSociale de L 'Afrique Noire (MESAN), Parti Republicain Centrafricain(PRC) and the Mouvement Dimocratique pour la Revolution Centrafrcaine (MDREC) each won one seat. Eight seats were won by independent candidates, five of whom belonged to the Mouvance DACKO. Some of these parties have coalesced around the ruling MLPC to form the parliamentary majority, while the former single party (RDC) and the FPP constitute the core of the parliamentary opposition.
Both civic leaders and deputies seemed misinformed about the other's proper functions in a democracy. Both groups also admitted that they had never really tried to work towards achieving a constructive, interactive relationship. Particularly in countries like the CAR where civic organizations have a degree of popular support, civic groups may be able to influence the parliament to function more effectively and more in the interest of the citizens. Parliamentarians, on the other hand, may also benefit from increased contact with civic organizations who often times have much needed information regarding the real problems of people at the local level.
President Ange Felix Patassd's ruling party, the Mouvement pour la Liberationdu Peuple Cenrrafricain (MLPC) constituted the nucleus of the parliamentary majority which also comprises four other parties including the Parti Liberal-Democrat(PLD), the Alliance pour la Democratie et le Progres(ADP), the Mouvement pour la Democratie et le Developpment (MDD), and the Parti Social Democrat-Convention Nationale (PSD-CN). All of these parties but for thc MDD, were formed prior to the legislative elections held in September 1993. The MDD was formed in December 1993 (after the legislative elections) by deputies who had initially supported the candidacy of David Dacko. Former president David Dacko ran in the August 1993 presidential elections as an independent, came in third and was eliminated in the first round. The deputies who were members of the MDD parliamentary group also competed in the legislative elections as independents.
The Rassemblement Democratique Centraficain (RDC) and the Front Patriotique pour le Progres (FPP) were the two parties that ormed opposition parliamentary groups within the National Assembly of the CAR. The RDC, the former single party under former President Kolingba. occupied 13 seats in the National Assembly. Professor Abel Goumba, who came in second in the presidential elections under the banner of the Concertation des Forces Democratique (CFD)- a loose alliance of various parties, remained the leader of the FPP. Like the MLPC and the RDC, the parliamentary group of the FPP was headed by an elected deputy.
In the case of the CAR, a majority of deputies portrayed the most difficulties understanding the complexities involved in functioning as legislators in a multi-party context. This could be explained in some measure by the fact that legislative elections in the CAR only recently took place (August-September 1993) and the national assembly had convened only a few times. The newly elected deputies also came from very diverse backgrounds and in some cases have only become politically active with the transition to multi-partism in 1991/92.
This corfirms a pattern that was noticeable in most other emerging democracies where there had been a change of regime or an alternation in political leadership. Elements of civil society hitherto excluded from decision making found themselves in the realm of political power and had to run governmental institutions, whereas those who initially monopolized power found themseves in the opposition and used knowledge accumulated during their previous experience to criticize the newcomers.
Political parties tend to have readily identifiable ethnic or ethnic-regional bases. The major ones are:
- The Movement for the Liberation of Central African People (MLPC), President Patasse's party, has strong support in the north, especially among the Sara and Bay a ethnic groups;
- The Central African Democratic Assembly (RDC), Kolingba's party, was the sole legal political party until 1991. It is popular among the Yakomas in the southeastern part of the country, in the Oubangui River basin; and
- The Movement for Democracy and Development, David Dacko's party, is strong in the western part of the C.A.R.
Other parties include:
- Patriotic Front for Progress (FPP), led by Abel Goumbe;
- Civic Forum (FC), led by General Timothee Malendoma;
- Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), led by Tchapka Brede;
- Liberal Democratic Party (PLD); and
- Social Democratic Party (PSD).
The 2005 parliamentary elections were held simultaneously with the presidential election on 13 March 2005. A military coup in 2003 had overthrown the regime of President Ange-Félix Patassé. On 15 March 2003 the National Assembly composed of 109 members serving a five-year-term had also been suspended. The 2005 elections registered a total of 1 816 candidates. The elections had been postponed twice since January 2005 in order to resolve issues related to the question of who would be allowed to run for president.
The main political parties were the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) the former ruling party led by former prime minister Martin Ziguélé; the Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) led by Mr. André Kolingba; and the National Unity Party (PUN) of former prime minister Jean-Paul Ngoupandé. The National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" (KNK) supported the incumbent President François Bozizé.
The election was plagued by a number of organizational problems. Voting was delayed in several districts due to a lack of ballot papers. While overseas voting in the French cities of Lyons and Bordeaux went off peacefully some voters destroyed electoral material in the Embassy of the Central African Republic in Paris leading the Joint Independent Electoral Commission (CEMI) to cancel the vote in Paris.
In the first round of voting only 17 candidates secured a majority and were elected. The second round went off smoothly. The final results gave the KNK and its allies 78 seats. The MLPC won a total of 12 seats followed by the RDC which won seven. The Patriotic Front for Progress the Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP) the Löndö Association and independents secured two seats each.
The 2016 elections returned a fragmented parliament. Independent candidates took 55 of the 140 seats in the new National Assembly. The National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP ), led by Mr. Michel Amine, became the largest single party, winning 13 seats. The Central African Union for Renewal (URCA) of former Prime Minister Anicet Georges Dologuele took 11 seats. Former President Bozizé led the National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" (KNK) which took seven seats. In the presidential elections, Mr. Faustin Archange Touadera (independent) - the last prime minister under President Bozizé - defeated Mr Dologuele (URCA), who had won the most votes in the first round of voting on 30 December. On 30 March, Mr. Touadera was sworn in as the new President.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|