Two former prime ministers of the Central African Republic will face off in the final round of the war-torn country’s presidential election. The constitutional court confirmed Monday the two candidates, Anicet-Georges Dologuélé and Faustin-Archange Touadera, for the highly anticipated run-off on Feb. 14, according to Reuters.
The court, which was tasked with certifying the results, announced that Dologuele won 23.74 percent of votes cast in the first round of voting on Dec. 30, trailed by Touadera with 19.05 percent. There were 1.3 million valid ballots cast out of an electorate of nearly two million, Agence France-Presse reported.
Dologuélé, 58, served as prime minister of the Central African Republic between 1999 and 2001 and became widely known as “Mr. Clean” for his efforts to clear out theft and corruption. He was subsequently president of the Development Bank of Central African States for several years, a post that experts say makes him one of the more credible candidates at leading the country out of a political and economic crisis. Dologuélé founded the Central African Union for Renewal political party in 2013.
The first-time presidential candidate is backed by the Kwa Na Kwa ( KNK), the political faction of ousted President François Bozizé, who was barred from running in the ongoing election. Dologuélé’s election campaign boasts his peaceful past and good record on cleaning up public finances.
Touadera, also 58, was not considered one of the favorites among the 30 candidates running for president, but he still amassed a significant amount of votes. His decision to run as an independent candidate may have helped distance him from the country’s recent violent past in the eyes of the voters, Newsweek reported. The former math teacher and vice chancellor of the University of Bangui served as prime minister between 2008 and 2013 under Bozizé, who was removed from power by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance known as Seleka. The Central African Republic has been enmeshed in a deadly conflict ever since.
The Seleka eventually ceded power amid international pressure to form a transitional government, which was tasked with steering the nation to elections. However, the conflict opened a security vacuum and triggered an ongoing wave of revenge attacks by Christian militias, leading to a vicious tit-for-tat cycle of sectarian violence. Some 400,000 people have fled their homes in Seleka-controlled areas, while another 460,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries.