Strongman Wins Central African Republic Election

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) - Central African Republic's electoral commission says the nation's strongman easily won last month's vote.

The commission said Tuesday that President Francois Bozize took 66 percent of the vote. But opposition candidates said the Jan. 23 poll was riddled with irregularities and intimidation and that they will appeal to overturn the results.

Former president Ange-Felix Patasse took second place with 20 percent of the vote. Bozize overthrew Patasse in a 2003 coup.

The constitutional court has until next week to validate the results.

Despite the nation's wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium, Bozize's corruption-addled government remains perpetually cash-strapped. The country has seen five coups since independence from France a half century ago.
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