After nearly three years of a state of lawlessness in the diamond-rich Central African Republic, voters went to the polls on Wednesday to vote in presidential and legislative elections that had been postponed from Sunday. The elections were delayed because ballots hadn’t been distributed, following two earlier deadlines this year to hold the votes. Sectarian conflict has torn the Central African Republic apart, with the country mired in violence since a 2013 coup that toppled then-President Francois Bozize and enabled armed groups to seize control of the countryside.
Thousands have been killed and about a fifth of the population has fled in what the United Nations describes as a “critical” human-rights situation. Bloomberg reports that the front-runners among the 30 presidential candidates are two former prime ministers, Anicet-Georges Dologuele and Martin Ziguele. A second round will be held on January 31 if none of the candidates wins a majority.