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Ivory Coast Sets Presidential Run-Off for 28 Nov

Ivory Coast Sets Presidential Run-Off for 28 Nov

Ivory Coast Sets Presidential Run-Off for 28 Nov

Ivory Coast has pushed back its presidential run-off election to Nov. 28, citing technical reasons.

Prime minister Guillaume Soro announced Tuesday the run-off election between President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara has been pushed back by one week to November 28.

Soro says for technical and practical reasons, the independent electoral commission has asked for an extra week to prepare the election in the best possible conditions.

According to definitive results, President Gbagbo led the first round of polling on October 31 with 38 percent of votes and Ouattara came in second with 32 percent.

The campaign for both remaining candidates hinges on winning over the 25 percent of voters that backed third-place candidate, former president Henri Konan Bedie.

Bedie has publicly called on his supporters to back Mr. Ouattara.

But President Gbagbo may be able to attract Bedie voters who are uncomfortable with Mr. Ouattara. The former prime minister is from the country's largely Muslim north and was prevented from running for president in the past because of questions about his nationality.

Speaking Tuesday in Abidjan, Mr. Gbagbo says after the first round Senegal sent a plane to take Mr. Ouattara to Dakar. He says Mr. Ouattara is the candidate of foreigners. He says that does not mean he is foreign, but rather that he is working for foreign interests.

Mr. Gbagbo is referring to a meeting in Dakar between Mr. Ouattara and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade that took place in the days following the first-round poll. The trip sparked diplomatic debate and accusations that Mr. Wade was interfering in the country's internal politics.

The presidential election is meant to reunite Ivory Coast after a 2002-2003 civil war. It has been pushed back six times since Mr. Gbagbo's mandate ran out in 2005.

There were concerns that disagreements over the results of the poll would re-ignite violence, but the election has so far been peaceful.