A political analyst says it is unlikely the chairman of Ivory Coast’s electoral commission will step down ahead of the upcoming general election despite President Laurent Gbagbo’s call for him to resign.
Gnaka Lagoke said the current situation in the country could make it impossible for the scheduled March general election.
"I think that the intentions of the president and his supporters are clear. They wanted the electoral commission to give more time in order to discuss the cases of a bunch of people so that their names can be added to the list of potential voters,” he said.
In a statement, President Laurent Gbagbo said Monday that the electoral commission failed to deal decisively with all contested cases of the voter register, saying it had admitted some 429,000 voters who may be illegitimate.
But over the weekend, the electoral commission said it had settled legal disputes over a provisional voter list.
The voter list is often seen as the last hurdle to the upcoming election.
Lagoke said reactions to the president’s resignation call have been mixed.
“As you know, the country is divided not just geographically, but also ideologically and politically. So there would be one group of people who will believe what the president said… and there would be another group of people who will say the president is maneuvering, and that they are not going to believe what the president said,” Lagoke said.
The United Nations is urging both President Gbagbo and the electoral commission to resolve their differences ahead of the vote.
Lagoke said the president is not expected to remove the chairman of the electoral commission.
“I don’t think that the president of the electoral commission is going to resign. And I don’t think that the president (Gbagbo) will go further in order to demote him…They will come out and then discuss and agree on something in order to continue the process,” Lagoke said.
Ivory Coast media report that an estimated six million people registered to vote in the general election, which many expect to reunite the country.
The country is currently split in two, with a rebel-held north and a government-held south. The civil war which began on September 19th 2002, ended when most of the fighting ceased in late 2004.