The determination and courage of the people of the Central African Republic, who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum held on 13 and 14 December 2015 having registered to do so in such large numbers, deserves special mention. By voting, the people of the Central African Republic have shown their determination to move on from the era of transition and pave the way for a democratic future.
The transitional authorities and the National Electoral Authority (NEA) worked resolutely in extremely difficult conditions to organise the constitutional referendum throughout the country. The EU urges them to continue actively in the same vein for the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections so that these take place under the best conditions possible.
At the request of the transitional authorities, the EU is preparing to send an Election Expert Mission to the Central African Republic. Based in Bangui, this mission will seek to conduct an independent assessment of the electoral process in the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections.
In some areas of the country and in Bangui, unacceptable acts of violence claimed several victims and prevented people from voting. Anyone seeking to intimidate voters and disrupt the electoral process must lay down their weapons and respect the will of the people of the Central African Republic.
The action taken by MINUSCA and Operation Sangaris, the international forces in the Central African Republic, to ensure a safe electoral process alongside the internal security forces, was outstanding. Such action will be vital in ensuring that civilians are protected and that the future elections pass off smoothly.