Central African Republic council adopts new constitution

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Central African transitional parliament chief (CNT) Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, acting as Central African Republic's interim president, makes a statement to the nation in Bagui.

Central African transitional parliament chief (CNT) Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, acting as Central African Republic's interim president, makes a statement to the nation in Bagui.

WEB_PHOTO_CAR_LEADER_13114.jpg

Central African transitional parliament chief (CNT) Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, acting as Central African Republic's interim president, makes a statement to the nation in Bagui.

Central African transitional parliament chief (CNT) Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, acting as Central African Republic's interim president, makes a statement to the nation in Bagui.

BANGUI - The transitional council in Central African Republic has adopted a constitution designed to form the base of a new government as the country attempts to turn a page on years of violence, government officials said on Monday.

Before it becomes law, the constitution agreed on Sunday must pass a referendum set for October 5 and followed by legislative and presidential elections on October 18, with a second round slated for October 22.

"The sovereign people will say at the constitutional referendum whether the liberties and fundamental rights ... (in this document) permit the refounding of the republic," said Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, president of the National Transitional Council.

The country descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by "anti-balaka" Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

The transitional council, which passed the constitution on Sunday with a large majority, was established under interim President Catherine Samba-Panza to lead the country to fresh elections.

The constitution obliges ministers to sign off on decisions by the president and prime minister.

"The government will also be under obligation to inform parliament each time it signs a contract concerning the country&39;s mineral resources, said Bruno Gbiegba, vice president of the transitional council&39;s legal commission.

It also includes a Senate, or second parliamentary chamber, and a National Election Authority, as well as a body dedicated to good governance, Gbiegba said.

Since independence from France in 1960, the country has six constitutions in line with the six presidents who have ruled.