List of heads of state of the Central African Republic

This article lists the heads of state of the Central African Republic. There have been seven heads of state of the Central African Republic and the Central African Empire since independence was obtained from the French on 13 August 1960. This list includes not only those persons who were sworn into office as President of the Central African Republic but also those who served as de facto heads of state.

President of the
Central African Republic
Président de la
République centrafricaine
Coat of arms of the Central African Republic
Faustin-Archange Touadéra
since 30 March 2016
ResidenceRenaissance Palace, Bangui
Term lengthFive years,
renewable once
Inaugural holderDavid Dacko
Formation12 December 1960
21 September 1979 (office reestablished)
SalaryEUR €3,049 per month[1]

Jean-Bédel Bokassa served as a de facto head of state (and also reigned as Emperor from 1976 to 1979), while David Dacko (who served as de facto head of state from 1979 to 1981), André Kolingba, Ange-Félix Patassé, and François Bozizé were elected into office at some point during their tenure. To date, Kolingba is the only former head of state of the Central African Republic to voluntarily step down from the office through a democratic process, following the 1993 general election.

The current President of the Central African Republic is Faustin-Archange Touadéra, since 30 March 2016.[2]

Political affiliations

Political parties
  •   Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa (MESAN)
  •   Central African Democratic Union (UDC)
  •   Central African Democratic Rally (RDC)
  •   Rally for the Republic (RPR)
  •   United Hearts Movement (MCU)
Other factions

For heads of state with multiple affiliations, the political party listed first is the party the person was affiliated with at the beginning of the tenure.

Heads of state

Portrait Elected Term of office Political affiliations Notes
Took office Left office Time in office
Central African Republic
French: République centrafricaine
Sango: Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka
David Dacko
President of the Provisional Government
14 August 1960[3] 12 December 1960[A] 5 years, 140 days MESAN Dacko served as president of the government from 1 May 1959[4] until the country declared its independence on 13 August 1960.[5]
David Dacko
1964 12 December 1960 1 January 1966[6]
Jean-Bédel Bokassa
1 January 1966[B] 4 December 1976 10 years, 338 days Military Bokassa seized power from Dacko in a successful coup d'état. He changed his name to Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa after converting to Islam on 20 October 1976.[7]
Central African Empire
French: Empire centrafricain
Bokassa I
4 December 1976[D] 21 September 1979[8] 2 years, 291 days MESAN Bokassa spent approximately US$20 million—one third of the country's annual budget—on his coronation ceremony on 4 December 1977.[9]
Central African Republic
French: République centrafricaine
Sango: Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka
David Dacko
1981 21 September 1979[E] 1 September 1981[10] 1 year, 345 days MESAN This was Dacko's second time as president of the Central African Republic. In February 1980, Dacko established the Central African Democratic Union (UDC) as the country's only political party.[11]
André Kolingba
Chairman of the Military Committee of National Recovery
1 September 1981[F] 21 September 1985[G] 12 years, 51 days Military Kolingba seized power from Dacko in a successful coup d'état. Ange-Félix Patassé, with the assistance of François Bozizé, launched an unsuccessful coup d'état against the Kolingba government on 3 March 1982.[12]
André Kolingba
President and Head of State
21 September 1985 21 November 1986 Kolingba established the Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) as the country's only party in May 1986.[13]
André Kolingba
1986[H] 21 November 1986 22 October 1993
Ange-Félix Patassé
22 October 1993[14] 15 March 2003 9 years, 144 days MLPC Bozizé launched an unsuccessful coup d'état against the Patassé government on 28 May 2001.[15]
François Bozizé
(born 1946)
15 March 2003[J][16] 24 March 2013 10 years, 9 days Military Bozizé seized power from Patassé in a successful coup d'état. Shortly after, he appointed Abel Goumba as Prime Minister. Goumba had served as acting Prime Minister in 1959, before being overthrown by Dacko.[17]
Michel Djotodia
(born 1949)
24 March 2013[K] 18 August 2013 292 days Military Djotodia was the leader of the Séléka rebel coalition in the ongoing civil war.
Michel Djotodia
(born 1949)
Head of State of the Transition
18 August 2013 10 January 2014[L]
Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet
(born 1972)
Acting Head of State of the Transition
10 January 2014 23 January 2014 13 days RPR Nguendet succeeded Djotodia after his resignation due to the continued conflict.
Catherine Samba-Panza
(born 1954)
Head of State of the Transition
23 January 2014 30 March 2016 2 years, 67 days Independent Samba-Panza became the first female head of state of the Central African Republic.
Faustin-Archange Touadéra
(born 1957)
30 March 2016 Incumbent 6 years, 308 days Independent Previously, Touadéra served as Prime Minister under Bozizé from 2008 until 2013.


  • A Dacko became the official President of the Central African Republic after defeating Abel Goumba in an internal power struggle. Dacko had support from the French government.
  • B Bokassa seized power by staging a coup d'état from 31 December 1965 until 1 January 1966. Bokassa forced Dacko to officially resign from the presidency at 03:20 WAT (02:20 UTC) on 1 January.[6]
  • C Bokassa staged a military coup against the Dacko government on 31 December 1965 – 1 January 1966. After becoming president, Bokassa took control of MESAN and imposed one-party rule under MESAN.
  • D Bokassa, then-president for life of the Central African Republic, instituted a new constitution at the session of the MESAN congress and declared the republic a monarchy, the Central African Empire (CAE). Bokassa became the emperor of the CAE as "Bokassa I".[7]
  • E By 1979, French support for Bokassa had all but eroded after the government's brutal suppression of rioting in Bangui and massacre of schoolchildren who had protested against wearing the expensive, government-required school uniforms. Dacko, who was Bokassa's personal adviser at the time, managed to leave for Paris where the French convinced him to cooperate in a coup to remove Bokassa from power and restore him to the presidency. The French successfully executed Operation Barracuda on 20–21 September 1979 and installed Dacko as president.[18][19]
  • F General Kolingba (who was also the armed forces chief of staff) overthrew Dacko from the presidency in a bloodless coup.[13]
  • G On 21 September 1985, Kolingba dissolved the Military Committee for National Recovery,[20] and created the positions of Head of State and President.[21]
  • H A constitution was adopted by a referendum on 21 November 1986 and Kolingba was elected to a six-year term in office.[8][13]
  • I The country held a multiparty presidential election on 22 August and 19 September 1993. Patassé was the candidate from the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People party and ran on the platform that he would pay the previously withheld salaries to soldiers and civil servants.[22] Patassé defeated Dacko, Kolingba, Bozizé and Abel Goumba to win the election.[23]
  • J Bozizé's second coup attempt was successful; he seized power in Bangui on 15 March 2003.[24]
  • K Djotodia ousted Bozizé in the 2012–13 conflict; he seized power in Bangui on 24 March 2013.[25][26]
  • L Under pressure from other central African heads of state gathered for a crisis summit on the situation in CAR, Djotodia resigned in N'Djamena, Chad on 10 January 2014.[27]


Faustin-Archange TouadéraCatherine Samba-PanzaAlexandre-Ferdinand NguendetMichel DjotodiaFrançois BozizéAnge-Félix PatasséAndré KolingbaJean-Bédel BokassaDavid Dacko

Latest election

Faustin-Archange TouadéraUnited Hearts Movement318,62653.16
Anicet-Georges DologuéléUnion for Central African Renewal130,01721.69
Martin ZiguéléMovement for the Liberation of the Central African People45,2067.54
Désiré KolingbaCentral African Democratic Rally22,1573.70
Crépin Mboli GoumbaPATRIE19,2713.21
Sylvain PatasséCentral Africa New Momentum8,7601.46
Augustin AgouRenaissance for Sustainable Development8,4361.41
Jean-Serge BokassaKodro Ti Mo Kozo Si7,8701.31
Mahamat KamounCentral Africa for All of Us7,5361.26
Alexandre-Ferdinand NguendetRally for the Republic6,6681.11
Karim MeckassouaPath of Hope5,0990.85
Eloi AnguimatéNational Convention5,0780.85
Catherine Samba-PanzaIndependent3,7100.62
Serge DjorieCAPNCA3,3920.57
Cyriaque GondaNational Party for a New Central Africa2,9730.50
Reboas AristideChristian Democratic Party2,4540.41
Nicolas TiangayeRepublican Convention for Social Progress2,1630.36
Valid votes599,41691.51
Invalid/blank votes55,6388.49
Total votes655,054100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,858,23635.25
Source: Constitutional Court

See also


  • Appiah, K. Anthony; Gates, Henry Louis Jr., eds. (1999), Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, New York City: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-00071-1.
  • Kalck, Pierre (2005), Historical Dictionary of the Central African Republic (3rd English ed.), Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-4913-5.
  • Marsden, Hilary, ed. (1988), Whitaker's Almanack, 1988, London: J Whitaker and Sons, ISBN 0-85021-178-6.
  • Titley, Brian (1997), Dark Age: The Political Odyssey of Emperor Bokassa, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 0-7735-1602-6, OCLC 36340842.
  1. "Salaire des chefs d'Etat africains : Macky Sall parmi les Présidents les plus mal payés..." Dakarbuzz. 8 August 2017. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018.
  2. "Central African Republic's president vows peace, reforms at inauguration", Reuters, 30 March 2016.
  3. Kalck 2005, p. xxxii
  4. Kalck 2005, p. 198
  5. Kalck 2005, p. xxxi
  6. Titley 1997, p. 28
  7. Kalck 2005, p. xxxiv
  8. Kalck 2005, p. 199
  9. Carlson, Peter (19 May 2007), "His Diplomatic Coup: Getting Them on the Record", The Washington Post, retrieved 8 June 2008
  10. Kalck 2005, p. xxxix
  11. Kalck 2005, p. 54
  12. Kalck 2005, p. 155
  13. Kalck 2005, p. 113
  14. The World Factbook 2002, Directorate of Intelligence, 2002, ISBN 0-16-067601-0, archived from the original on 18 June 2008
  15. "Situation "confused" after apparent coup attempt", IRIN, 28 May 2001, retrieved 8 June 2008
  16. Kalck 2005, p. lxxiii
  17. "Bozize appoints prime minister", IRIN, 24 March 2003, retrieved 8 June 2008
  18. Titley 1997, p. 127
  19. Kalck 2005, p. lxix
  20. Marsden 1988, p. 810
  21. Kalck 2005, p. 48
  22. Appiah & Gates 1999, p. 399
  23. Kalck 2005, p. xlviii
  24. "Rebel leader seizes power, suspends constitution", IRIN, 17 March 2003, retrieved 8 June 2008
  25. "Centrafrique: Michel Djotodia déclare être le nouveau président de la république centrafricaine" (in French). Radio France International. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  26. Madjiasra Nako; Bate Felix (18 April 2013). "Regional leaders recognise C.African Republic rebel chief". Reuters. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  27. "CAR interim President Michel Djotodia resigns". BBC News. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
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