CAR's new ruling body starts work
08 May 2013, 08:56
Bangui - A new transitional ruling body in the unstable Central African Republic met Tuesday to work on the means to legislate and to prepare for elections in the wake of a March coup.
The National Transitional Council (CNT) began meeting late on Monday in Bangui and is due by 21 May to set up its own regulations, adopt a transitional charter and pass a decree setting out an electoral code.
"The transitional parliament will enjoy the full legislative powers accorded to an ordinary parliament... apart from no-confidence votes," CNT chair Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet told the assembly.
The CNT, which on 13 April elected former rebel leader Michel Djotodia head of state for a transitional period of 18 months, will serve as both governing body and constituent assembly.
The body of 105 members includes some representatives of the Seleka coalition led by Djotodia - which claimed power after it ousted president Francois Bozize on 24 March - along with members of the former regime and its opponents, and leaders of other rebel forces and people drawn from civil society.
The creation of the CNT was one of the recommendations of a summit of central African leaders in Chad's capital N'Djamena held on April 3 in a bid to restore normality to institutions in the country of five million people after Seleka rebels won their uprising.
Political parties have 24 representatives in the new assembly, while Seleka has 15, including Djotodia.
The coup leader decreed in a radio broadcast that Tuesday would be a "day of fasting and prayer across the national territory" in favour of peace and security.
The Central African Republic is potentially rich in gold and diamonds, but acute political turmoil, social unrest and successive rebellions have prevented any significant exploitation of such resources since independence from France in 1960.