Central African Republic Government  

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Central African Republic is an emerging democracy with a President and Prime Minister. It has a unicameral legislature with a semi-independent judiciary.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT
President Patasse, Ange-Felix
Prime Minister Ziguele, Martin
Min. of Civil Service & Employment Gonbala, Laurent
Min. of Culture & Relations with Parliament Doko, Michel
Min. of Defense Regonessa, Maurice, Brig. Gen.
Min. of Economy, Planning, & Intl. Cooperation Gomba, Alexis
Min. of Education & Scientific Research Mbaikoua, Timoleon
Min. of Environment, Water Resources, & Forestry Gounebana, Nathalie Constance
Min. of Foreign Affairs & Francophonie Marace, Marcel Beti
Min. of Interior & Territorial Administration Mazette, Jacquesson
Min. of Justice Metefara, Marcel
Min. of Mines & Energy Nalke-Dorogo, Andre
Min. of Public Health Kalite, Joseph
Min. of Social Affairs & Family Mboma, Ibrahim Francoise
Min. of Trade, Industry, & Private Sector Promotion Mbaitadjim, Jacob
Min. of Transportation & Public Works Kotazo, Andre Toby
Min. of Youth & Sports Ndarata, Jean-Dominque
Min. of State for Finance Sorongope, Eric
Min. of State for Posts & Telecommunications Koyambonou, Gabriel Jean Edouard
Dir., Central Bank Koyamba, Alphonse
Ambassador to the US Touaboy, Emmanuel
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York  
The government is a republic comprised of a strong executive branch (president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers), and weaker legislative branch (unicameral National Assembly) and judicial branch. Government and opposition party members, as well as civil society and the military are represented in the three branches, although the President appoints the Prime Minister, members of the cabinet (Council of Ministers), top military officials and managers of national parastatals. For administration purposes, the country is divided into 16 prefectures that are further divided into over 60 subprefectures; the commune of Bangui is administered separately. Heads of these administrative units, called "prefets" and "sous-prefets" are currently appointed by the president.

The National Assembly is made up of 109 members elected by popular vote to serve 5-year terms. The last legislative elections were held in 1998; in contested results, the governments MLPC won just over 50% control of the legislative body. There are 174 communes, each headed by a mayor and council appointed by the president. Municipal elections are planned for late 2002. Suffrage is universal over the age of 21.

The judicial sector encompasses the Constitutional Court, Criminal Court, Court of Cassation, Court of Appeals, criminal and civil courts, Labor Court and Juvenile Court, although several of these courts have insufficient resources and trained personnel to operate on a regular basis. The Criminal Court of Bangui sits once or twice a year, usually for one or 2 months each session. Judges are appointed by the president; executive influence often impedes transparent handling of judicial affairs. Military courts exist but are currently only used to try military personnel for crimes committed in the course of duty. There is a limited number of formal courts currently functioning outside Bangui; traditional arbitration and negotiation play a major role in administering domestic, property, and probate law.

The Central African Republic has a vibrant civil society, with numerous professional, labor, and local development associations actively carrying out campaigns and gaining greater local and international credibility.

The C.A.R. Government's human rights record remains flawed. There are continued reports of arbitrary detainment, torture and, to a lesser degree, extrajudicial killings. Journalists have occasionally been threatened, and prison conditions remain harsh.