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Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) (from/to)23 January 2011
27 March 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all seats in the National Assembly.
After being postponed three times, elections to the National Assembly finally took place on 23 January 2011 in parallel with the presidential polls. The country of 4.8 million inhabitants has witnessed a series of coups and revolts since it gained independence from France in 1960.

The previous parliamentary and presidential elections of March and May 2005 followed a military coup in 2003, in which Mr. François Bozizé ousted the then President Ange-Félix Patassé. The National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" ("Work, only work", KNK) and its allies supporting President Bozizé took 78 of the 105 seats in the National Assembly. The Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) - the former ruling party led by Mr. Martin Ziguélé (a former prime minister under Mr. Patassé) - took 12 seats, while the Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) took seven. The remaining eight seats went to four small parties, which took two seats each. Mr. Bozizé was re-elected President, pledging to work for national unity.

In June 2008, two of the country's main rebel groups - the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) and the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) - signed a peace agreement with the government. The agreement provided for their disarmament and a government of national unity. A government comprising members of the opposition and the former rebel groups was established in January 2009.

However, the landlocked country was soon challenged by the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which spread to the Central African Republic from neighbouring Uganda, forcing the populations of several towns and villages to flee. In late 2010, the security situation further worsened with ethnic conflict in the north, compounded by violence spilling over from neighbouring Chad and the Darfur region in Sudan. In the meantime, in October 2009, Mr. Patassé, who had been in self-imposed exile in Togo, returned home, announcing that would run in the presidential elections due in 2010. The MLPC, founded by Mr. Patassé announced however that it would endorse Mr. Ziguélé as its presidential candidate.

The parliamentary and presidential elections were called for 25 April 2010 but initially postponed to 16 May. The Election Commission explained that it would not be able to organize the elections in time due to a lack of funds and delays in disarming the APRD and the UFDR. Although a disarmament programme had begun in 2009, it was blocked due to a dispute over the non-payment of bonuses to former rebels. The cost of the elections, estimated at US$ 20 million, needed to be funded by international donors. The European Union had agreed to provide 45 per cent of the cost but only after the new electoral roll was finalized.

In April, several opposition forces, including the MLPC, the RDC, the ADP and the APRD formed the Movement of Forces for Change (CFC) and undertook not to challenge the legitimacy of the President until the new elections. On 30 April, the Election Commission announced that both presidential and parliamentary elections would be postponed sine die due to a lack of funds. The CFC protested against the postponement of the elections, which it argued would undermine the legitimacy of State institutions. It subsequently asked the Ombudsman to find a way to end the standoff between the government and the CFC. Before an agreement was reached, on 10 May, the National Assembly adopted constitutional amendments extending the term of the President and the legislature - which was due to expire on 11 June 2010 - until the next elections. The Election Commission subsequently announced that elections would be held on 24 October 2010.

However, on 31 July, President Bozizé unilaterally set the date of the parliamentary and presidential elections for 23 January 2011 with a possible run-off on 20 March. He argued that the new dates took into account the security situation, particularly the fight against the LRA in the south-eastern part of the country. On 10 August, all political parties signed an accord endorsing the proposed election dates.

A national census in view of the 2011 elections started in September 2010. Due to the longer census period (one month instead of two weeks for the 2005 elections), the new electoral roll comprised 500,000 more registered voters. The census was hampered by abductions of census agents by the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), a major rebel group that did not sign the 2008 peace agreement. One of the CPJP leaders and former minister, Mr. Charles Massi, passed away in January 2010 in prison and his family accused the authorities of torturing him to death, an allegation the government denied. Ensuing rebel activities continued to cast a shadow over the 2011 elections.

In all, 885 candidates were vying for seats in the National Assembly while five were running for the presidency. The presidential candidates included incumbent President Bozizé, former president Patassé (running as an independent candidate) and Mr. Ziguélé (MPLC). Mr. Emile Gros Raymond Nakombo (RDC) and Mr. Jean-Jacques Démafouth - former APRD leader who now heads the New Progressive Alliance (NAP) - were also running.

The KNK, supporting President Bozizé, ran on the government's record, portraying Mr. Bozizé as a "unifier" and "builder" of the nation. President Bozizé urged voters to support him in bringing about peace and development to the country. The MPLC accused President Bozizé of failing to bring security to the country and its neighbours. It pledged to work for the development of the nation. Mr. Patassé urged his supporters to turn out in large numbers at the polls. The RDC promised to work for peace and security, create more jobs, provide education for all and revive the economy while protecting the environment.

In all, 61.16 per cent of the 1.8 million registered voters turned out at the polls, down from 72.65 per cent in 2005. Voting took place without incident although the opening of some polling stations was delayed due to logistical problems.

Opposition parties claimed election fraud and irregularities, arguing that several polling stations were displaced or closed in order to favour the incumbent President. The government dismissed those allegations. Three presidential candidates - Mr. Ziguélé (MPLC), Mr. Nakombo (RDC) and Mr. J Démafouth (NAP) - demanded that the results of the presidential elections be invalidated.

President Bozizé was re-elected with over 66 per cent of the votes cast in the first round of the presidential elections.

In all, 35 members were elected to the National Assembly in the first round: 26 from the KNK (including President Bozizé's son and nephew), one from the MPLC and eight independents with some reportedly close to Mr. Bozizé. The KNK was leading in the majority of the remaining constituencies.

The second round of parliamentary elections will be held for 68 seats on 27 March 2011. There will be fresh elections in two constituencies: in Birao 2 where the polling stations did not open; and in Boganda from which the election results were not reported back to the Election Commission.
Voter turnout
Round no 123 January 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Round no 227 March 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Grand total
National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" 25
Independents 8
Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) 1
Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) 0
Presidential Majority 0
Round no 2
Political Group Total Grand total
National Convergence "Kwa Na Kwa" 37 63
Presidential Majority 12 12
Independents 6 14
Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) 1 1
Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) 1 2
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
One of the 26 seats won by the KNK in the first round of the election was subsequently invalidated by the Election Commission.

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