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ECOWAS Hails Ivory Coast’s 'Mature, Peaceful' Vote

  • Peter Clottey

A UN vehicule passes billboards for the presidential electoral campaign on a moped in Bouake, 27 Oct 2010

A UN vehicule passes billboards for the presidential electoral campaign on a moped in Bouake, 27 Oct 2010

A top official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has congratulated the people of Ivory Coast over what he described as a mature and peaceful presidential vote Sunday.

Sonny Ugoh, communications director for the West African regional bloc, also urged the losing presidential candidates to use the country’s state institutions, including the courts, to address their concerns about the poll results.

“We wish to congratulate them for the way they conducted themselves in the elections on Sunday. You can see that all the anxiety, all the trepidation, and all the fears were unfounded. You can see how peaceful it went. We can only ask them to exercise the same patience and the same maturity as they wait anxiously for the outcome,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has also urged the presidential candidates to accept the results of Sunday's long-awaited election. A top U.N. official in Ivory Coast expressed confidence Monday that the results would be accepted by all candidates.

Ivorians are awaiting returns from the presidential poll, the country's first since a 2002 civil war.

The electoral commission Monday released some tallies from Ivorians voting abroad. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo won among voters in Ghana and South Africa, while challenger Alassane Ouattara won among voters in Gabon, Mali and Spain.

Ugoh said there is a need for all presidential candidates to accept the results of the vote.

“Whoever has any issues with the outcome (of the vote) should demonstrate the same maturity in responding to it and using constitutional means to address it, so that Ivoirians can continue to enjoy (the peace). They don’t know how proud we are of them. They (should) continue along this path and this is the path that ECOWAS is happy about,” Ugoh said.

He further urged the presidential candidates to rally around the winner to present a united country “towards reconstruction, towards development and towards working with the rest of the sub-region in moving West Africa forward.”

In an interview on state television, the commission's permanent secretary (Auguste Miremont) said officials will meet a Wednesday deadline for complete results.