Central Africa elections postponed till Dec 30

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) - Long-delayed elections in volatile Central African Republic that were initially due this weekend have been postponed for three days until Dec 30, the country's National Election Authority (ANE) said Friday.

"For technical reasons the first round of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Sunday 27 December 2015 is delayed until Wednesday December 30 2015," an ANE statement said.

The postponement was due to problems sending ballot papers to election centres outside the capital Bangui - a reflection of the difficulties the poor country faces as it struggles to return to peace and normalcy.

"This decision was taken after consultation with all those involved in the electoral process", ANE said, adding that the aim is to "allow the electoral commission to accomplish its work in a calm and transparent manner."

It added that the election campaign, with 30 candidates vying for president, has also been extended "to midnight Monday December 28".

The authorities of the transition government had proposed on Thursday to delay the election to next week.

Normally, the Consitutional Court would need to approve changing the voting from Sunday, but given the holiday period it does not plan to meet, a source close to the court said.

A decree from the country's transitional President Catherine Samba Panza is expected soon to officially confirm the new election date.

The long-awaited elections are aimed at turning the page on the sectarian conflict that erupted after a mainly Muslim rebellion overthrew longtime Christian leader Francois Bozize in 2013.