Members of transitional council confirmed

Central African Republic (CAR) leader Francois Bozize has confirmed the delegates to the 98-member National Transitional Council who were nominated by the various groups making up the council, government-run Radio Centrafrique reported on Thursday.

At the same time, Bozize announced that an extraordinary meeting of the council running from Friday to 10 June, the radio reported.

Bozize set up the NTC in April, saying it would serve as an advisory and lawmaking body during a transitional period that is to last between 18 and 30 months. The council will also draft a new constitution, prepare a national reconciliation dialogue conference and elections.

The membership of the council comprises delegates of political, religious, social and professional affiliations in the country. Among the 15 representatives of political parties are two former prime ministers, Enoch Derant Lakoue, chairman of the Parti Social pour la Democratie; and Jean Paul Ngoupande, chairman of the Parti pour l'Unite Nationale. Both men previously served in the opposition against former President Ange-Felix Patasse, who Bozize ousted in a coup on 15 March.

The representatives of Patasse's Mouvement de Liberation du Peuple Centrafrique (MLPC) include Hugue Dobozendi, the party's deputy chairman and former deputy speaker of the national assembly that was dissolved soon after the coup. The party's first deputy chairman, Louis Pierre Gamba, represents the Rassemblement Democratique Centrafricain of former President Andre Kolingba.

The council also comprises delegates of labour unions, religious communities, liberal professions, businessmen's associations, women and youths' organisations, human right bodies, the army, gendarmerie, police, farmers' associations, NGOs, magistrates, provinces and former heads of state. However, Bozize's decree only mentioned former presidents David Dacko and Kolingba. The decree omitted Patasse who is now in exile in Togo.

Bishop Paulin Pomodimo, who Patasse had appointed to coordinate the national dialogue, is among the three delegates of religious communities. Nicolas Tiangaye and Lambert Zokoezo, the chairmen of the Ligue Centrafricaine des Droits de l'Homme and the Observatoire Centrafricain des Droits de l'Homme - two local major rights bodies - represent human right organisations.

Of the CAR 16 provinces, six have nominated their representatives so far. With the present incomplete list, the council has nine women and 78 men.

In his decree signed on Thursday, Bozize said the 12-day council session would be dedicated to the installation of the body, the election of its board and the establishment of its internal regulations.