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François Bozizé

Central African Republic

François Bozizé came to power in 2003 after orchastrating a coup to overthrow the government, and was sworn in as the current president of the Central African Republic in 2005.

More by user: kwyly
Created: 23rd Apr 2008
Modified: 23rd Apr 2008
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Government of the Central African Republic
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Central African Republic

Description of Work:
François Bozizé Yangouvonda (born October 14, 1946) came to power in March 2003 after leading a rebellion against President Ange-Félix Patassé. He won the country's 2005 presidential election, receiving the most votes in the first round in March 2005, but less than a majority, requiring a second round, which he won in May 2005.

Bozizé was born in Gabon, a member of Gbaya people, and attended a military officers' training college in the Central African province of Bouar. He served as a second lieutenant, a lieutenant, and a captain in 1975. He was appointed brigadier-general by Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa in 1978, and later Minister of Defense by David Dacko after Bokassa was ousted in 1979. Following Dacko's own ouster by André Kolingba in September 1981, Bozizé was appointed Minister of Information and Culture, but fled into exile after being accused of involvement in a coup attemptled by Patassé in early March 1982. After being arrested in Cotonou, Benin in July 1989, Bozizé was imprisoned and tortured, but he was acquitted in December 1991.

In 1993 elections were held by Kolingba and Bozizé became a presidential candidate. He took only 1.5% of the vote, and conceeded defeat to the newly elected Patassé. Bozizé was appointed Army Chief of Staff under Patasse, and for many years was considered a supporter, helping the president suppress army mutinies in 1996 and 1997.

On May 28, 2001, however, there was a failed coup attempt against Patassé which Bozizé was suspected of orchstarting. He was dismissed from his position, and in October troops attempted to arrest him. Fighting erupted between Bozizé's supporters and Patassé's army, and Bozizé fled north to Chad. The fighting between the army and Bozizé's rebels continued through 2002 with Congoloese troops lending support to Patassé.

On March 15, 2003, Bozizé finally succeeded in seizing power, with his forces entering Bangui unopposed. Patassé was returning from a meeting in Niger at the time, but could not land because Bozizé's forces controlled the airport. Patassé took refuge in Cameroon and then Togo.

Upon establishing a transitional government and seizing power, Bozizé suspended the country's 1995 constitution and a new constitution, reportedly similar to the old one, was approved by voters in a referendum on December 5, 2004. Bozizé initially said he would not run in a planned future presidential election, but after the successful constitutional referendum, he announced his intention to stand as a candidate in the upcoming elections.

Bozizé came in first in the March 13 election, taking just under 43% of the vote according to official results. He faced Patassé's last prime minister, Martin Ziguélé, in a second round of voting held on May 8. According to official results announced on May 24, he won with 64.6% of the vote and was sworn in on June 11, 2005. The newly-elected president called for national unity, and pledged in his campaign to bring security to the coup-prone country.

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Biographical Information
François Bozizé
(At a Glance)
Place of Origin: Central African Republic

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