Country Report Central African Republic October 1998 Main report

Political scene: Expansion of legislature favours President Patasse

At the forthcoming legislative election the number of deputies in the Assemblee nationale is to be increased from 85 to 109, ostensibly to match population growth. While the target level of population for each constituency is 40,000 in rural areas and 65,000 in Bangui, all sous- prefectures with less than 40,000 people will still have at least one deputy. The net effect of these boundary changes will be to maximise the number of deputies elected from the north-west -- admittedly populous, but also the home region of Mr Patasse -- while penalising Bangui, where the opposition G11 group and the Rassemblement democratique centrafricaine (RDC) are strong. However, the president's party, the Mouvement pour la liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC), might not reap the full benefits of the new electoral map, as it will have to compete for local votes with both Mr Ngoupande's PUN and another new party, the Forum democratique pour la modernite (Fodem), set up by a former MLPC minister, Charles Massi.

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