name = François Bozizé
order = President of the Central African Republic
Abel Goumba Célestin Gaombalet Élie Doté Faustin-Archange Touadéra
15 March 2003
birth_date = birth date and age|1946|10|14|df=y
party = Independent
Pentecostal[ [http://fr.encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_941550365/Boziz%C3%A9_Fran%C3%A7ois.html Bozizé, François - MSN Encarta ] ]
François Bozizé Yangouvonda (born
October 14, 1946) is the President of the Central African Republic. He came to power in March 2003 after leading a rebellion against President Ange-Félix Patasséand 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 second round, 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.citation|last=|first=|title=Bozize to contest presidency as an independent candidate|url=http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=52396|newspaper= IRIN|date= 13 December2004|accessdate= 14 August 2008.] He became a second lieutenant in 1969 and a captain in 1975. He was appointed Brigadier Generalby Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassain 1978, after he beat a French noncommissioned officer who had disrespected the president. [Harvnb|Titley|1997|p=44.] Harvnb|Kalck|2005|p=33.] With General Josyhat Mayomokala, Bozizé ordered military personnel to attack young demonstrators who were asking for their parents' arrears. [Harvnb|Kalck|2005|p=7.] After Bokassa was ousted by David Dackoin 1979, Bozizé was appointed Minister of Defense. Following Dacko's ouster by André Kolingbain 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 Patasséon 3 March 1982, [Harvnb|Kalck|2005|p=8.] in which he accused Kolingba of treason and proclaimed the change of power on Radio Bangui. [Harvnb|Kalck|2005|p=xxxix.] He then obtained refuge in France. [Harvnb|Kalck|2005|p=xl.] Bozizé was arrested in Cotonou, Beninin July 1989, and imprisoned and tortured. He was put on trial by Kolingba and acquitted on 24 September 1991and 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, Kolingba had formed
political partyand 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 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. [Harvnb|Appiah|Gates|1999|p=1502.] In the 1993 election, Bozizé ran for the presidency as an independent, receiving 12,159 votes, 1.5% of the total votes cast.fr icon citation|last=|first=|title=Rapport de la Mission Exploratoire en vue des Elections Presidentielles et Legislatives du 22 aout 1993|url=http://democratie.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/RAPPORT_DE_LA_MISSION_EXPLORATOIRE_EN_VUE_DES_ELECTIONS_PRESIDENTIELLES_ET_LEGISLATIVES_DU_22_AOUT_1993.pdf|publisher=Le Conseil Permanent de la Francophonie|date=|accessdate= 15 August 2008.] Patassé, Abel Goumbaand 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. [citation|last=|first=|title=Central African Republic: parliamentary elections Assemblée nationale, 1993|url=http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2059_93.htm|publisher= Inter-Parliamentary Union|date= 11 January 2007|accessdate= 15 August[2008.] [citation|last=Diamond|first=Larry|author1-link=Larry Diamond|title=Election Results in Hybrid Regimes, 1989-2001|url=http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/articles/gratis/diamond2.htm|journal= Journal of Democracy|date=April 2002|volume=13|issue=2|page=Appendix 2|issn=1045-5736|doi=.]
For many years Bozizé was considered a supporter of Patassé and helped him suppress army
mutiniesin 1996 and 1997. Bozizé was then named the Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
Bozizé showed no activity against Patassé and frequently crushed revolts against the president.
May 28 2001, a coup was attempted against Patassé [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=21792 "Situation “confused” after apparent coup attempt"] , IRIN, May 28 2001.] and defeated with the help of Libyan troops and Congolese rebels of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=21932 "Patasse government back in control"] , IRIN, June 4 2001.] Afterwards, Bozizé's loyalty was questioned, and in late October 2001 he was dismissed as army chief of staff. Fighting erupted when the government tried to arrest Bozizé on November 3; after five days of this, government forces aided by Libyan troops captured the barracks where Bozizé was based, [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=28139 "Rebel general, overpowered, flees"] , IRIN, November 8 2001.] and Bozizé fled north to Chad. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=28762 "Regional efforts underway to calm tensions"] , IRIN, November 28 2001.] [Harvnb|Mehler|2005|p=146.]
Fighting between government forces and Bozizé's rebels continued during 2002. From
October 25to October 31, his forces unsuccessfully attacked on the capital, Bangui; the Congolese MLC, who again came to Patassé's aid, were accused of looting and rape. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=36088 "UN to investigate October rights abuses"] , IRIN, November 11 2002.]
This period was marked by tensions between Chad and Patassé's government. Patassé's ruling party accused Chadian president
Idriss Débyof destabilizing the Central African Republic by supporting Bozizé with men and equipment. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=35534 "Ruling party accuses Chad of backing coup attempt"] , IRIN, November 5 2002.]
The final coup, transition period, and election as president
March 15, 2003, Bozizé finally succeeded in seizing power, with his forces entering Bangui unopposed. Patassé was returning from a meeting in Nigerat the time, but could not land because Bozizé's forces controlled the airport. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=42102 "Rebel leader seizes power, suspends constitution"] , IRIN, March 17 2003.] Patassé took refuge in Cameroonand then Togo.
Bozizé appointed Abel Goumba as Prime Minister soon after seizing power in March, [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=42234 "Bozize appoints prime minister"] , IRIN, March 24, 2003.] later making him vice-president in December and appointing
Célestin Gaombaletin his place as prime minister. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=47669 "New premier forms government, Goumba appointed VP"] , IRIN, December 15, 2003.] Bozizé also suspended the country's 1995 constitution after seizing power, and a new constitution, reportedly similar to the old one, was approved by voters in a referendumon December 5, 2004. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=52467 "New constitution adopted, 15 to vie for presidency"] , IRIN, December 20 2004.] After seizing power, Bozizé initially said he would not run in a planned future presidential election, but after the successful constitutional referendum, he announced his intention to stand as a candidate on December 11:
:After thinking thoroughly, and being deeply convinced and keeping in mind the nation's interest, I grasped the deep sense of my people's calls. As a citizen, I'll take my responsibility.
December 30, 2004, Bozizé was one of five candidates approved to run in the presidential election scheduled for early 2005. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=52551 "Court clears five to run for president"] , IRIN, December 31 2004.] On January 4, 2005, Bozizé announced that three initially excluded candidates would also be allowed to run, although former president Patassé was not included in either group. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=52581 "Bozize repeals court ban on some presidential candidates"] , IRIN, January 5 2005.] In late January, it was announced that more candidates would be permitted to run in the election, bringing the total to 11 and leaving only Patassé barred. The elections were also delayed by one month from the previously scheduled date of February 13to March 13. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=52788 "Election postponed, but most banned candidates can now run"] , IRIN, January 25 2005.]
Bozizé came in first in the
March 13election, taking just under 43% of the vote according to official results. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=53685 "Two to face off in second round of presidential poll"] , IRIN, April 1 2005.] He faced Patassé's last prime minister, Martin Ziguélé, in a second round of voting; this was held on May 8and according to official results announced on May 24, he won with 64.6% of the vote. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=54615 "Incumbent wins presidency"] , IRIN, May 24 2005.] He was sworn in on June 11. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/12/international/africa/12africa.html?ex=1149480000&en=363dea37dccd3a7d&ei=5070 "Central Africa Gets Chief"] , Agence France-Presse, June 11 2005.]
The National Assembly authorized Bozizé to rule by decree for three months, from
January 1to March 31 2006; his prime minister, Élie Doté, said that this period of rule by decree was successful, enabling Bozizé to take measures to streamline the civil service. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=59266 "Prime minister declares rule by decree a success"] , IRIN, June 9 2006.]
In addition to being president, Bozizé has been Minister of National Defense since taking power. After the end of the transitional period, he remained in this post when Doté named a new cabinet in June 2005, [ [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=54989 "Newly-appointed premier names cabinet"] , IRIN, June 21, 2005.] and also kept it following a September 2006 cabinet reshuffle. [ [http://www.fodem.org/la_depeche/200609/060903%20DOTE3.htm "Nouveau gouvernement"] , fodem.org, September 3, 2006 fr icon.]
Facing a general strike over
wage arrearsfor civil servants in January 2008, [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L28308289.htm "Central African leader names son in new government"] , Reuters (AlertNet), January 28, 2008.] Bozizé appointed a new government headed by Faustin-Archange Touadéra. In this government he remained Defense Minister, while also appointing his son Francis Bozizéto the Defense Ministry as his deputy. Bozizé's sister, Yvonne M'Boïssona, who had been Tourism Minister, was reappointed to the government as Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting, Fishing, and the Environment. [ [http://apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article&id_article=53439 "Composition du nouveau gouvernement centrafricain"] , African Press Agency, 29 January 2008.]
*citation|last=Mehler|first=Andreas|contribution=The Shaky Foundations, Adverse Circumstances, and Limited Achievements of Democratic Transition in the Central African Republic|editor1-last=Villalón|editor1-first=Leonardo Alfonso|editor2-last=VonDoepp|editor2-first=Peter|title=The Fate of Africa's Democratic Experiments: Elites and Institutions|year=2005|publisher=
Indiana University Press|location=Bloomington, Indiana|pages=126–152|isbn=0-253-34575-8|oclc=57414663.
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