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"NO Good-byes!" - CAR's Top Justice

FILE: Central African Republic's President Faustin Archange Touadera addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York. Taken September 20, 2022.

The head of Central African Republic's top court, which has stymied a push to enable President Faustin-Archange Touadera to keep running for office, has defied a government order to retire.

Constitutional Court president Daniele Darlan, a 70-year-old lawyer, jurist and former university professor, says she's not stepping down.

Darlan, appointed in 2017 to a seven year term, says she intends to fulfill it despite pressures to leave.

Observers note that along with her insistence to stay, the Constitutional Court has clearly indicated its willingness to prevent President Faustin-Archange Touadera from staying in office past his two terms.

The Court last month annulled a commission's proposal that would let Touadera, 65, stand for a third presidential poll in line with a trend in some parts of Africa that opponents see as creeping autocracy.

Touadera's allies in May called for a change in the constitutional clause saying presidents can only run twice, arguing this was uncommon around neighboring countries.

Several other African presidents, including in Rwanda, Congo Republic, Ivory Coast and Guinea, have pushed through constitutional and other legal changes in recent years to allow themselves to stay in office.

The next vote in Central African Republic is due in 2025.

This report was compiled with information sourced from Reuters.