The first round of presidential elections was conducted on August 11, 1993, but once again the result was canceled by Kolingba by decree. That made France threaten to suspend its economic and military aid to the country, forcing Kolingba to conduct the second round of the presidential election.
On September 1, Kolingba ordered all political prisoners released, including Bokassa, who had been charged with cannibalism, murder and public money fraud. On September 19, Ange-Félix Patassé – Bokassa’s former prime minister – was elected president with 52.47% of the votes cast. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Central African Republic.
In 1994, Patassé continued the rapprochement with France, which had supported former President Dacko in the 1993 elections. The economy continued to show signs of weakness. The payment of salaries to public servants was resumed, but the state still owed a lot of money in the form of salaries that had not yet been paid. In August 1994, a Kuwait parliamentary delegation visited the country to thank for its support during the Gulf War.
On December 28, 1994, a new constitution was passed by a referendum. Still, the opposition claimed that it was a defeat for Patassé, as only 46% of voters participated in the vote. In the international market, cotton and diamond prices rose, bringing the country’s economic growth in 1995 to 7%. But France had decided to devalue the African Franc (CFA) by 100% (also used as the currency of the Central African Republic), which hit the population hard.
In May 1996, Patassé asked for military assistance from France to defeat a new military uprising. The direct participation of the French soldiers in military meetings triggered a series of demonstrations against Paris’ intervention. Bangui was paralyzed in the wake of the uprising, looting and the French military action. The country’s economy now became even more dependent on France.
In June, the president announced the deployment of a national unity government and appointed the country’s former ambassador to France, Jean Paul Ngoupande as new prime minister. However, social tensions were not diminished, and in November a new military uprising broke out – the third in less than a year.
Following a ceasefire, French troops launched an offensive against insurgent troops in Bangui in early 1997, who had been attacked following the killing of two soldiers. The attack led to Patassé and rebel leader Anicet Saulet agreeing to replace the French troops with a force of soldiers from various African countries – funded by Paris.
In January, Patassé, Michel Gbezera-Bria appointed prime minister. In February, a new government was formed, which also had opposition ministers. At the same time, most of the rebel soldiers returned to their barracks. In May, new armed clashes triggered a political crisis that forced the opposition to withdraw from the government. New negotiations between government and rebel forces – with mediation by foreign troops – contributed to the resolution of the crisis.
The hostility towards France became increasingly obvious. In October, the president demanded that France withdraw from its military bases in the country. At the same time, he sought to strengthen relations with the United States.
In March 1998, the United Nations Security Council decided to send a Special Mission (MINURCA) to Central Africa consisting of 1,400 peacekeeping soldiers. In April, the Inter-African peacekeeping forces were replaced by 1,350 MINURCA soldiers. On the same day, France withdrew its 1,400 soldiers from the country. In May, Patassé signed a mutual defense pact with Democratic Congo President Laurent Kabila. The same month, the government announced the lifting of customs duties – this was a claim made by the IMF. In July, the same international financial institution granted a loan of DKK 66 million. US $ to continue implementing economic reform policy.
The planned presidential election in September had to be postponed for 1 week at the request of the opposition and with the prospect of unrest. The election gave President Patassé 51% of the vote, but the opposition requested the cancellation of the election result and accused the government of electoral fraud. Former President Andre Kolingba came in second place with 19% of the vote.