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African Leaders Discuss New Ivory Coast Election Plan


The African Union is considering a plan that would give the Ivory Coast government another 12 months to prepare for elections that have already been postponed twice.

African heads of state discussed the proposal at a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa Tuesday.

The plan is based on recommendations of West African leaders who met earlier this month. It calls for extending the terms of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny for another year beginning November 1.

Last week, the top U.N. elections supervisor in Ivory Coast said elections will be postponed until October of next year. The polls had already been postponed by a year in 2005.

The delay has raised fears of unrest, with rebels and opposition leaders demanding that President Gbagbo step down when his mandate expires this month.

At least 10,000 people gathered in Abidjan Sunday to demand Mr. Gbagbo's resignation.

The long-awaited vote is meant to cement a fragile peace in Ivory Coast. The country has been divided between government forces in the south and rebels in the north since fighting broke out in 2002.

The African Union's final recommendations are to be forwarded to the United Nations before a Security Council meeting on October 25 expected to decide on details of a new plan for Ivory Coast.

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