Wednesday, February 1, 2012

François Bozizé

François Bozizé Yangouvonda (born 14 October 1946) is the President of the Central African Republic. He came to power in March 2003 after leading a rebellion against President Ange-Félix Patassé and ushered in a transitional period of government. He won the country's 2005 presidential election; he received the most votes in the first round in March 2005, but less than a majority, requiring a runoff election, which he won in May 2005.

Early life and Kolingba's rule
Bozizé was born in Gabon, a member of the Gbaya people, and attended a military officers' training college in the Central African province of Bouar. He became a second lieutenant in 1969 and a captain in 1975. He was appointed Brigadier General by Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa in 1978, after he beat a French noncommissioned officer who had disrespected the president. With General Josyhat Mayomokala, Bozizé ordered military personnel to attack young demonstrators who were asking for their parents' arrears. After Bokassa was ousted by David Dacko in 1979, Bozizé was appointed Minister of Defense. Following Dacko's ouster by André Kolingba in September 1981, Bozizé was appointed Minister of Communications, but fled to the north of the country with 100 soldiers after his involvement in a failed coup attempt led by Ange-Félix Patassé on 3 March 1982, in which he accused Kolingba of treason and proclaimed the change of power on Radio Bangui. He then obtained refuge in France. Bozizé was arrested in Cotonou, Benin in July 1989, and imprisoned and tortured. He was put on trial by Kolingba on charges of helping the coup d'état in May but was acquitted on 24 September 1991 and released from prison on 1 December. He then sought refuge in France, where he remained for nearly two years.

Under pressure to democratize the government during the 1980s, Andre Kolingba had formed a political party and held a referendum, in which he was elected to a six-year term in office as president. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, internal and external pressures eventually forced Kolingba to adopt an even more democratic approach. In March 1991, he agreed to share power with Edouard Frank, who he named prime minister. He also established a commission to revise the constitution in order to promote pluralism. When he was pressured by the international community, notably a very vocal US ambassador to the Central African Republic, Daniel H. Simpson, to hold fair elections, assisted by the UN Electoral Assistance Unit and monitored by international observers in 1992, he only won 10% of the vote and so he declared the elections invalid and had the Constitutional Council cancel the election. He rescheduled the election for September 1993. In the 1993 election, Bozizé ran for the presidency as an independent, receiving 12,159 votes, 1.5% of the total votes cast. Patassé, Abel Goumba and Kolingba received 37.32%, 21.68% and 12.10% of the vote, respectively, but since none of the candidates obtained a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates—Patassé and Goumba—was held. Patassé defeated Goumba by a 53.49%–46.51% vote and was elected president of the Central African Republic.

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