NOUVELLES DE CENTRAFRIQUE 1998-1999
27/03/98 U.N. sets up Central African Republic peace force UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Security Council unanimously approved Friday the establishment of a 1,350-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, to take over from an African force whose mandate expires April 15. The African force was deployed in February 1997 to help maintain security under peace accords aimed at ending a series of army mutinies, over pay and other issues, against the elected government of President Ange-Felix Patasse. But that force, which operated with the Security Council's blessing, will not be able to function beyond mid-April because France, which has been providing logistical support, is withdrawing all its troops from the Central African Republic, a former colony. The new operation, called the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), will have an initial three-month mandate, from April 15 to July 15, but is likely to be extended for up to six more months. Speaking before the vote, U.S. ambassador Bill Richardson said, ``If the government of the Central African Republic has not made concrete progress toward necessary economic, political and security reforms, we will find it difficult to renew this mission for another period.'' Under the council resolution, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to appoint a special representative for the Central African Republic who will also head MINURCA and other U.N. activities in the country. Annan was asked to submit a progress report to the Security Council by June 20. Many of MINURCA's troops will be drawn from those taking part in the force it will replace, called the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB). MISAB comprises troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal and Togo. It has been operating under the guidance of an international mediation committee of regional heads of state chaired by President Omar Bongo of Gabon. The U.N. operation, which will also include contingents from Ivory Coast and Ghana, will have the task of helping maintain security in the capital, Bangui, and its immediate vicinity. It will also help train police and provide advice and technical support for legislative elections scheduled for August-September this year. Its costs -- estimated at about $70 million for a period of nine months -- will be apportioned among all 185 U.N. members. The United Nations has scaled down its peacekeeping in recent years, with a total of fewer than 14,000 troops currently deployed. This compares with nearly 80,000 in 1993, when large-scale operations were under way in Somalia, Yugoslavia and other trouble spots.
Central African U.N. force gets 200 French soldiers PARIS (Reuters) - France will contribute soldiers and military equipment to a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. ``France intends to contribute to the success of the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic by sending 200 soldiers and a significant amount of equipment,'' spokeswoman Anne Gazeau-Secret told reporters. The Security Council last week unanimously approved establishment of a 1,350-strong U.N. peacekeeping force there, to take over from an African force whose mandate expires on April 15. The initial force was deployed in February 1997 to help maintain security under peace accords aimed at ending a series of army mutinies over pay and other issues against the elected government of President Ange-Felix Patasse. But that force will be unable to function beyond mid-April because France, which has been providing logistics support, announced it was withdrawing all its troops from its former colony. The new operation, called the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), will initially be authorized to operate up to July 15 but is likely to be extended for up to six months more. The cost of the force -- estimated at about $70 million for nine months -- will be shared by all 185 U.N. members.
Canada to join Central African U.N. force OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada announced Friday it would contribute 45 soldiers to a new United Nations force that will try to provide security before and after elections in the Central African Republic. Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said the region had a history of instability that made a U.N. mission important. ``It's a tough neighborhood to work in, and that's why it requires an international presence,'' Axworthy told a news conference in Ottawa. Canada and France will be the only non-African nations in the 1,350-member peackeeping force, to be known by the French acronym MINURCA. France has already announced it will send 200 soldiers to the mission, set up by the U.N. Security Council. Canada will contribute communications officers and equipment. The force will try to keep security under peace accords aimed at ending a series of army mutinies against the elected government of President Ange-Felix Patasse. Axworthy said elections are expected in the Central African Republic in October. The peacekeeping force's initial mandate is for three months, until mid-July, but Axworthy said was expected to be extended for a further six months, past the elections. Other contributors to the force are Burkina Faso, Chad, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo.
Vote count calm in Central African Republic By Jean-Lambert Ngouandji BANGUI, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Vote-counting in the volatile Central African Republic gathered pace peacefully on Monday, one day after a parliamentary election was held to help foster national reconciliation, electoral officials said. A strong turnout was reported on Sunday in what was only the second multi-party parliamentary election in the diamond-rich yet impoverished former French colony, which has been plagued by political and ethnic rivalry. ``The most striking thing was the high turnout of voters,'' Vincent de Herdt, head of an 11-strong European Union monitoring team, told Reuters on Sunday. ``People really turned out in force.'' He declined to put a figure on the turnout but some officials predicted that it would top 60 percent. The Mixed and Independent Election Commission (CEMI), which organised the election, extended voting in a string of polling stations late into the evening, particularly in the south of the capital Bangui. This followed late starts due to problems with voting materials. The southern districts were at the heart of three army mutinies which triggered ethnic and political bloodshed in 1996. The Yakoma living there are the same minority ethnic group as former military ruler Andre Kolongba, who was defeated by President Ange-Felix Patasse in 1993 multi-party elections. A total of 858 candidates and almost 30 parties contested the 109 seats in the new national assembly in the country, where eccentric despot Emperor Bokassa held court in the 1970s. The constitutional court must proclaim the results by December 7 -- ahead of the run-offs planned for December 13. A 1,350-strong U.N. force with troops from France, Canada and Africa policed the election. Observers from the United Nations, the Francophonie club of French-speaking nations and independent African watchdogs also monitored polling. Election officials said counting ran overnight in some polling stations where voting finished close to the pre-dusk official end of polling. Others began counting on Monday. Patasse's Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) was the largest party in the outgoing 85-seat assembly but none held an absolute majority. Kolingba did not stand in Sunday's election but his wife did.
22/11/1998People have been voting in parliamentary elections in the Central African Republic, with more than 1,000 UN peacekeepers deployed in a bid to forestall any violence.
Reports from the capital, Bangui, say voting started briskly and long queues built up, although there were delays at some polling stations because of organisational problems.
The UN force is made up mainly of soldiers from French-speaking African countries, and is the second largest UN operation on the continent.
However, there have been no reports of any major incidents during the poll.
Voting is also being monitored by observers from the European Union, the francophone club of French-speaking nations and independent African watchdogs.
A history of instability
The diamond-rich Central African Republic hit the world headlines during the 1970s because of the excesses of its then ruler, the self-proclaimed Emperor Bokassa, who was eventually overthrown in a French-backed coup.
The current president, Ange-Felix Patasse, has faced three army mutinies since since taking over in 1993 with a promise to introduce civilian government.
The army is dominated by ethnic Yacoma soldiers, who are loyal to the country's former military ruler, while President Patasse's supporters are from other ethnic groups.
The key issue is whether President Patasse's ruling group, the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC), is able to retain its majority in parliament.
More than 300 candidates from nearly 30 parties are standing for the newly-expanded parliament - many of them chosen on ethnic lines.
One of the opposition leaders, former prime minister Jean-Paul Ngoupande, predicted that the government would try to manipulate the result.
"There will be many attempts at fraud by those in power who are under pressure, but I am confident that in spite of that, the opposition will win the election if there is a minimum of transparency," he said.
On the eve of the vote, there were complaints about incomplete voters' lists, and the non-delivery of voters cards.
The BBC West Africa Correspondent,
Mark Doyle, says that if the result splits along ethnic lines, or if there
is renewed violence, the country may face continued instability.
A second round of voting is due to take place next month.
The Constitutional Court in the Central African Republic says that no party has an overall majority in parliament after the second and final round of elections earlier this month.
The Court said the governing party the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People which supports President Ange-Felix Patasse, and its allies together won forty-nine of the one-hundred-and-nine seats.
Eight opposition parties won fifty-three seats, with the remaining seven going to independent candidates.
The new assembly will be inaugurated on the first of January.
Opposition supporters in the Central African Republic have responded to calls to protest at the nomination of a new prime minister.
Demonstrators in the capital, Bangui, erected barricades and threw stones in an attempt to stop people going to work.
Police used tear gas to restore order in the south of Bangui, where the opposition has strongest support.
Other areas of the city were less affected.
The government coalition and the opposition both claim to hold a majority in the newly-elected parliament, and the opposition says the nomination of the new prime minister, the former finance minister, will tip the balance and create a new crisis.
CAfrican Republic Elections Delayed
BANGUI, Central African Republic
(AP) _ The government has
postponed presidential elections for two weeks in the Central
African Republic, saying electoral lists and voter registration
cards are not ready.
The government decree, announced on state radio Thursday night,
said the first round of elections has been rescheduled for Sept.
12. A second round, if needed, will be held Oct. 3. The elections
were originally planned for Aug. 29 and Sept. 19.
Opposition parties said they approved of the decision. However,
some opposition officials said that two additional weeks may not be
enough time to sufficiently prepare for the vote.
The candidates include President Ange-Felix Patasse, who is
seeking a second six-year term, and former president Andre
Kolingba. Patasse defeated Kolingba by a slim majority in the last
presidential elections, in August 1993.
Since independence in 1960, the nation has been wracked by
ethnic and factional violence. Last year the United Nations
extended a peacekeeping mission in the country until this December,
to strengthen the country's fragile peace. The U.N. troops will
help restructure the country's military, which has staged three
major rebellions against Patasse in the past four years.
This year, the United Nations ranked the Central African
Republic among the world's 10 least developed nations.
Gov't Rejects Vote Delay in Africa
BANGUI, Central African Republic
(AP) _ The government has
rejected an opposition request to postpone presidential elections
for a second time in the Central African Republic, saying it would
be unfair to voters.
The campaign officially opened at midnight Monday with little
fanfare. No election rallies were scheduled, and the only posters
in the streets of the capital, Bangui, were those of President
The opposition parties had requested another delay in voting
because electoral lists, voter registration cards and ballot papers
were not ready. The national electoral commission said Monday that
voting materials will be ready this week.
Patasse rejected the request at an emergency meeting with
opposition parties Friday, saying the first round of voting will go
ahead as planned on Sept. 12. A second round, if needed, will be
held Oct. 3.
The elections were originally planned for Aug. 29 and Sept. 19.
``Postponing the presidential elections for the second time is
an abuse to the voters,'' Patasse said on state radio Friday.
The candidates include Patasse, who is seeking a second six-year
term, and former President Andre Kolingba. Patasse defeated
Kolingba by a slim majority in the last presidential elections, in
Since independence in 1960, the nation has been wracked by
ethnic and factional violence.
Last year, the United Nations extended a peacekeeping mission in
the country until this December to strengthen the country's fragile
peace. The U.N. troops will help restructure the country's
military, which has staged three major rebellions against Patasse
in the past four years.
This year, the United Nations ranked the Central African
Republic among the world's 10 least developed nations.
Nairobi - Ten candidates will contest the first round of presidential elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) on 12 September as the country strives to recover from a recent period of debilitating civil strife and overcome serious economic and social difficulties.
An estimated 1.5 million people are expected to cast their votes in some 3,000 polling stations set up in the country's 16 prefectures and the eight districts of the capital, Bangui. A second round of voting, if no single candidate receives over 50 percent on 12 September, will be held on 3 October. The candidates - incumbent President Ange-Felix Patasse, six opposition leaders and three independents - are vying for a six-year term, renewable only once.
The UN Mission in the CAR (MINURCA) and UNDP are providing technical and logistical assistance to the Commission Electorale Mixte et Independante (CEMI), the 27-member body responsible for the organisation and conduct of the elections. CEMI's budget of 1.9 billion franc CFA (about US $3 million) has been covered by a government allocation of 1 billion franc CFA and contributions from several donor countries.
Over 200 international observers are being fielded to monitor the elections, and MINURCA troops have been deployed to nine designated electoral monitoring sites at Berberati, Kagabandoro, Bangassou, Bossangoa, Bozoum, Bouar, Bambari, Nedel and Birao. The planned deployment of observers and troops at another designated monitoring site, Mobaye, had not yet taken place due to insecurity resulting from the recent influx of thousands of soldiers to that area from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
MINURCA - the first new UN peace-keeping operation to be established in Africa since the UN Operation in Somalia II in 1993 - was deployed in April 1998 to take over from the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Bangui Agreements (MISAB), which was set up in the wake of a series of army mutinies in 1996-97.
The mutinies, essentially triggered by salary arrears and public discontent over social and economic problems, killed hundreds of people, displaced tens of thousands and resulted in widespread looting and destruction of small enterprises and factories in the capital.
The Bangui Agreements, signed in 1997 by the army mutineers and the Patasse government following mediation efforts by four African heads of state, restored peace and set out measures for a comprehensive settlement of the crisis.. All CAR political parties signed a National Reconciliation Pact the following year. However, the social and economic effects of the mutinies continue to be felt, and not all components of the Bangui Agreements have been implemented yet.
UN-monitored legislative elections for the 109-seat National Assembly held in November/December 1998 were generally considered to be free and fair. Opposition parties won 55 seats while the ruling party and its allies won 54. But the post-election defection of an opposition legislator gave the ruling coalition a one-seat majority in the assembly, prompting opposition protests.
While Patasse's victory in
the 1993 multi-party elections ushered in a process of turbulent democracy,
critics say his government has been characterised by exclusionary policies,
incompetence, mismanagement and corruption. The opposition was unable to
unite behind a single candidate to challenge Patasse, but political parties
in the opposition coalition UFAP (Union des forces acquises a la paix)
signed an agreement on 19 August pledging to rally behind the leading opposition
candidate in the second round.
The mutinies caused CAR's gross national product to fall by about three percent in 1996 and resulted in a sharp decline in public revenue as well as the doubling of the unemployment rate in Bangui. While there has been some improvement in the country's macro-economic situation since then - including an estimated 25 percent increase in average monthly government revenue - most of the private sector and foreign investors have not resumed business. "Everyone is waiting for the results of the election to see whether to return," a civil society leader in Bangui told IRIN recently.
This July, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after a relatively favourable review of the economic situation, disbursed an additional US $11 million to the CAR as a second tranche of the first annual Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) economic reform programme launched in 1998. While the fresh IMF funds enabled the partial payment of salary arrears, the country's 20,000 civil servants and army soldiers are still owed eight or nine months of remuneration. The payment of education grants for students and retirement benefits for pensioners is also outstanding.
UN Special Representative Oluyemi Adeniji has told IRIN that peace in the short-term was needed to encourage the private sector to return, thereby increasing employment and government revenue and ensuring the regular payment of salaries. "Investors, if they are convinced stability will last, will gradually come back," he said. Conversely, the country would be "in serious trouble" if cooperation agreements with the Bretton Woods institutions were to break down, he added.
The precarious economic situation prevailing since the civil strife has led to deepening poverty and deteriorating living conditions at the household level, humanitarian sources have said. Although the country is rich in largely unexploited natural resources, including diamonds gold and timber, more than 60 percent of its population are struggling to survive on less than US $1 a day, a recent UN report noted.
The purchasing power of the population has declined drastically, access to health and education services is poor, chronic malnutrition affects about one quarter of children under five years of age, and mortality rates are increasing, the sources said. The CAR is ranked among the 10 lowest countries of the 174 that are included in the most recent UNDP Human Development Index. [For additional information, see separate item on 31 August headlined: "Worsening conditions amid deepening poverty" - IRIN-CEA: 19990831]
One of the aspects of the 1997 Bangui Agreements that has not yet been implemented is the restructuring of the armed forces. The national army is weak and is viewed as incapable of stemming armed robbery taking place along roads in the interior of the country. The army remains dominated by one southern ethnic group, the Yakoma, to which former president Kolingba belongs.
Meanwhile, the better-equipped presidential guard, known as the FORSDIR, is composed mainly of members of Patasse's own northern ethnic group, the Kaba, which is part of the larger Sara group. FORSDIR is reportedly responsible for many human rights violations and is assuming law and order functions beyond its mandate, a situation that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently described as "potentially explosive."
"There is frustration on the part of the population and suspicion on the part of the opposition who see in FORSDIR a force that would be engaged against it in case it won the election," a MINURCA official told IRIN. "At the same time, the president is suspicious of the army because of its role in the mutinies," he added.
"If there are problems, the behaviour of the FORSDIR will certainly not be neutral," a security source told IRIN.
The national police force, with an estimated 1,900 officers in 1998, is largely unarmed and poorly trained. The country's police academy remained closed for 20 years until it was reopened last year by MINURCA, which is currently training some 180 officers.
Of the estimated 3,434 army soldiers, 1,374 gendarmes and 642 FORSDIR elements that constitute the country's armed forces, some 800 are to be demobilised under a UNDP project, while some 600 are due for retirement, which would pave the way for new recruits - taking into account geographical and ethnic balances - to bring the restructured armed forces to some 6,000 personnel. However, UN sources said there has been very little or no donor funding contributed towards efforts to restructure the army, demobilise and reintegrate soldiers or strengthen police capacity.
The scheduled departure of MINURCA on 15 November is compounding fears of potential renewed civil unrest and the creation of a security vacuum in the post-election period, particularly if the results are contested. "Many have forgotten that peace is very precarious. A few weeks after the departure of MINURCA, anything could happen," a diplomatic source in Bangui told IRIN recently, adding that the root causes of the 1996 mutinies remained largely unresolved.
MINURCA is composed of some 1,300 troops and civilian police from 14 countries. When the UN Security Council extended MINURCA to 15 November, it expressed its intention to follow through with "full termination" of the mission's mandate by that date.
UN Force Commander Major General Barthelemy Ratanga told IRIN recently that while there may be "bad losers" who contest the election results, "they won't go far if everyone is persuaded that the elections were transparent and well prepared." As MINURCA's departure will have a "psychological impact," the elected president would have to reassure the population and restructure the army, he said. "Without a solid army, there can be no development," Ratanga added.
Fueling fears of potential post-election or post-MINURCA unrest is the growing "ethnicisation" of CAR society, which has been exacerbated since the mutinies and exploited by the political class for their own personal interests, analysts told IRIN.
Membership in political parties - and voting patterns in the 1998 legislative elections - were largely along ethnic or regional lines, analysts noted, while a civil society representative said that Bangui residents had started to move from one area of the capital to another based on the ethnic make-up of the city's neighbourhoods. "If problems do arise, people will react on the basis of their ethnic or regional origins," she said.
A political analyst agreed, saying: "The manipulation of the population by the political elite is taking a dangerous turn." The ethnicisation problem "will take decades to eradicate," he added.
The country's estimated population of 3.5 million is composed of some 90 ethnic groups.
Ange-Felix Patasse, the 63-year-old incumbent president, was first elected in 1993, after having been an unsuccessful candidate in 1981. A period of economic recovery during the first years of his term enabled the regular disbursement of civil servants' salaries as well as the payment of previously-accumulated arrears, but salary payments started to fall behind again in 1995. Patasse, an agricultural engineer, had served as minister and prime minister under former president Jean-Bedel Bokassa. He was subsequently forced into exile during Kolinga's presidency. Patasse's party is the Mouvement de liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC), which last year received 47 seats in the National Assembly and has strong support in the north.
David Dacko, 69, served as minister of the interior under the country's first president, Barthelemy Boganda. After Boganda died in a plane crash, Dacko became president in 1960 at the age of 30, and he brought the country to independence the following year. He was ousted in a military coup led by Bokassa on 31 December 1965, but was reinstated in the 1979 French-supported 'Operation Barracuda' and served as president until the head of the armed forces, General Kolingba, took over in 1981. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1993 elections. Dacko is president of the Mouvement pour la democratie et le developpement (MDD), which holds eight seats in the National Assembly and has strong support in the west.
Andre Kolingba, 63, is a career military officer who served as CAR ambassador, including in Canada and Germany. Opponents say Kolingba's 1981- 1993 tenure as president following the ousting of Dacko was characterised by dictatorship and "favouratism" towards his own ethnic group. Kolingba was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1993 elections, receiving only 11 percent in the first round of voting. His party is the Rassemblement democratique centrafricain (RDC), which has 20 legislators in the assembly and is popular in the east.
Abel Goumba, 74, a veteran opposition figure, is a professor of medecine who has lived in France and in Benin, where he worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Goumba came in second in the 1993 elections, losing to Patasse in the second round of voting with 45 percent. A leftist, he was elected to the National Assembly last year along with six other members of his party, the Front patriotique pour le progres (FPP), which is popular in central areas.
Jean-Paul Ngoupande, 51, was elected in last year's legislative elections. He is president of the Parti de l'unite nationale (PUN), which has three seats. He served as minister of education under Kolingba, as prime minister under Patasse and as CAR ambassador in Cote d'Ivoire and France.
Enoch-Derant Lakoue, a 55-year-old economist, is a former minister and prime-minister. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1993 elections. A dissident MLPC member, Lakoue created the Parti social democrate (PSD) in the early 1990s. His party has six seats in the National Assembly, but Lakoue himself was an unsuccessful candidate in last year's elections.
Charles Massi, 47, served as minister of mines and of agricultural under Patasse before he formed his own party, the Forum democratique pour la modernite (FODEM), in 1997. He was then fired by the government and temporarily placed under house arrest. Massi was one of two FODEM members elected to the National Assembly last year.
Henri Pouzere, 56, is a human rights activist who was elected to the National Assembly last year. He has been practising law in Gabon. Although Pouzere is an independent candidate, he has signed the UFAP pledge to support a joint opposition candidate in the second round of voting.
Joseph Abossolo, a 54-year-old US-trained economist, is a businessman who has been living in France. He served as High Commissioner for Civic Action under Kolingba and is an independent candidate.
Fidele Ngouandjika, 45, has presented himself as the "candidate of the youth." An independent, he has sharply criticised CAR political parties as mere "ethnic/tribal associations". A telecommunications engineer, Ngouandjika is president of the national karate federation and holds a karate black belt.
The chairman of the electoral commission in the Central African Republic says presidential elections scheduled for next week will go ahead as planned.
The poll, originally scheduled for last month, was delayed after problems with the electoral lists.
The chairman of the Joint Independent Electoral Commission, Adama Tamboux, told the BBC all electoral material would be ready in the next twenty-four hours.
He said measures against fraud were also in place.
Nine candidates are challenging President Ange Felix Patasse in the elections.
They include two former presidents, Andre Kolingba and David Dacko. A second round is expected to take place next month
A leading contender in next week's presidential elections in the Central African Republic has criticized the electoral commission's preparations for the poll.
The candidate, Jean Paul Ngoupande, of the National Unity Party said the commission had failed to fulfill some requirements of the electoral code.
He said ballot papers which had to be distributed fifteen days before the election were still being printed.
He accused the commission of bias and said the atmosphere ahead of the poll made fraud possible.
On Monday, the head of the electoral commission Adama Tamboux, said everything was on course for the elections. The poll was originally scheduled for last month but was postponed following problems with the electoral list.
Nine candidates are challenging the incumbent President, Ange-Felix Patasse.
The Central African Republic has announced it will close its borders for the first round of voting in presidential elections scheduled for tomorrow Sunday.
In a statement carried on national television, the interior ministry said all land and air borders would be closed from midnight tonight Saturday until Sunday midnight.
The statement was made as the independent election commission, which is supervising the poll met to consider delaying the contest, in which incumbent President Ange-Felix Patasse faces nine opponents.
Correspondents say the announcement is an indication that the vote will take place as scheduled, dispite opposition calls for their postponement. On Friday, which was the last day of campaigning, two people were killed and many wounded in clashes between the government and opposition supporters.
Presidential elections due to be held in the Central African Republic on Sunday have been postponed by a week, prompting fears of new civil unrest in a country that has been wracked by violence since it gained independence in 1960.
The official reason for the postponement is the failure of preparations for the poll, but the root cause is thought to be ethnic suspicions between political leaders.
Octobre 1999 : réélection de Patassé
BANGUI, Central African Republic (PANA) - Incumbent President Ange-felix Patasse was re-elected for a fresh six- year term in the Central African Republic, according to the reults of the first round of the 19 September presidential election, the constitutional court in Bangui proclaimed Saturday.
It said Patasse got 51.63 percent of cast votes, as against 19.38 percent for his main rival, former President Andre Kolingba.
The President of the Central African Republic, Ange-Felix Patasse, has been re-elected to a second term.
The constitutional court said Mr Patasse won just over half the votes cast in the election of September the 19th, with his nearest challenger - a former president, Andre Kolingba, taking nineteen percent.
Supporters of Mr Patasse have been celebrating the victory but the opposition has said that the poll was rigged.
President Patasse has appealed for calm and said his victory should not lead to hate, despair or arrogance.