Central African Republic profilePresident (ousted): Francois Bozize
President Bozize seized power in a coup in 2003 and won elections in 2005 and 2011, but fled the country as rebels captured the capital two years later.
A senior military figure since the days of Emperor Bokassa in the late 1970s, Mr Bozize ousted the unpopular Ange-Felix Patasse and declared himself president.
He promised to return the country to democratic rule and ran as an independent in the 2005 poll, which he won with 64% of the vote.
He gained a similar percentage in the January 2011 elections, which the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
The International Crisis Group has accused Mr Bozize of using the country's diamond mines as a slush fund for his supporters, and of allowing rampant corruption and the degradation of the rule of law to an extent that rebellions are inevitable.
His rule was marked by a long series of bush wars against the government, which left much of the country in turmoil.
Accusations of a failure to adhere to a previous ceasefire agreement led the mainly northern Seleka rebel movement to mount an offensive that ultimately toppled Mr Bozize's fall in March 2013, despite the signing of a truce and power-sharing agreement in January.Coup leader: Michel Djotodia
Michel Djotodia marched into the capital Bangui at the head of 5,000 Seleka rebel fighters on 24 March 2013 to seize power from President Bozize, who fled the country.
Mr Djotodia immediately moved to suspend the constitution and dissolve parliament, and announced he would rule by decree.
But he promised to relinquish power after elections scheduled for 2016, and to abide by the spirit of the power-sharing agreement signed the Gabonese capital Libreville in January.
He also said he would review existing contracts with foreign mining companies.
In response to the coup, the African Union suspended the Central African Republic's membership and imposed sanctions on Mr Djotodia and other Seleka leaders.
The United States condemned the rebels' seizure of power and refused to recognise Mr Djotodia. It said that Nicolas Tiangaye, named prime minister under the Libreville truce, was now the country's only legal leader.
The rise of Mr Djotodia - the first Muslim to lead the mostly Christian country - has some Christians worried. He has stressed the state's secular nature and pledged to serve all its citizens.
Seleka - "alliance" in the local Songo language - is a coalition of five rebel groups mainly based in the north. It launched an offensive against the government late 2012, after accusing President Bozize of failing to honour a peace deal agreed in 2007.
Mr Djotodia heads the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) group within Seleka. A civil servant under President Ange-Felix Patasse, he was given a diplomatic post when Francois Bozize seized power in 2003, but launched a rebellion after falling out with the new president in 2005.