Catherine Samba-Panza elected CAR’s interim president

Bangui, Jan 21: Catherine Samba-Panza was elected as interim president of the Central African Republic (CAR) in a vote at the parliament Monday.

Samba-Panza, 54, the mayor of capital Bangui, was elected with 75 out of 129 votes in a secret ballot by members of the National Transition Council (CNT, transition parliament), Xinhua reported.

She won the presidency in a second round vote after defeating Bilal Desire Nzanga-Kolingba, son of ex-president Andre Kolingba.

Samba-Panza is the first woman elected to the top post of the country since its independence in 1960.

Criticised for inability to end the violence that plunged the Central African Republic into security and humanitarian chaos for several months, ex-Transition President Michel Djotodia and his Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye were forced to resign Jan 10 during an extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in Chad.

Since then, the CNT president Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet has been serving as the interim president, a position for 15 days in accordance with the provisions of the country’s Constitutional Charter adopted in July 2013.

Once elected, the new president is expected to appoint a prime minister, who is to form a government of national unity in accordance with the Libreville agreement that was signed in January 2013.

IANS