Bangui — President Francois Hollande on January 14 said that French troops will be able to pull out of Central African Republic quickly once it elects a new president.
In a New Year’s speech to the armed forces President Hollande said that the troops contributed to bringing stability and preventing massacres. “The elections are taking place and we will therefore be able to now disengage quickly,” he added. France has about 900 soldiers in CAR.
Withdrawal of some of the troops has been put on hold, so they can support UN peacekeepers as the country votes. The presidential election is set for a second round later this month, after a first round on December 30.
Provisional results showed two ex-prime ministers – Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera – in the lead but neither winning an outright majority.
On January 12 two losing candidates demanded a manual recount of ballots cast in the first round, saying that widespread irregularities undermined the credibility of the results. CAR descended into conflict in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian nation, provoking reprisals by Christian militia fighters.