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Ivory Coast Will Vote This Year, Says Presidential Advisor

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo (center) with supporters in Abidjan after he submitted his candidacy for presidential election, 16 October 2009
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo (center) with supporters in Abidjan after he submitted his candidacy for presidential election, 16 October 2009

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  • Lambert Bahi Sery, President Gbagbo's Advisor spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

An advisor to Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo says the leader will ensure a free and transparent election this year contrary to opposition claims.

Lambert Bahi Sery said a newly formed government will pave the way for a new leadership at the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) ahead of this year’s vote.

Meanwhile, tasked with forming a new government, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has asked for two more days in order to constitute the administration.

This comes after President Gbagbo dissolved both the government and the electoral commission -- a move the opposition claims was aimed at undermining the upcoming vote.

Several dozens of Ivorian opposition youth clash with police during a demonstration on 17 Feb 2010 in Abidjan against the dissolution of Ivorian cabinet and electoral commission
Several dozens of Ivorian opposition youth clash with police during a demonstration on 17 Feb 2010 in Abidjan against the dissolution of Ivorian cabinet and electoral commission

But Presidential Advisor Sery said Mr. Gbagbo wants to preserve the country’s unity despite violent opposition protests.

“What we need is to have a government as the president said which is committed to the country and to handle this crisis that has been taking too long and that is affecting the country’s development and the lives of the people collectively and individually pretty badly,” Sery said.

The electoral body recently apologized for what it said was errors made in drawing up the voter register, saying thousands of names President Gbagbo disputed were not intended to be on it.

Ivorian media quoted Mr. Gbagbo as saying “The president of this institution (CEI) Mr. Robert Mambe has carried out an illegal operation with the aim of obtaining the fraudulent inscription of 429,000 people on the electoral list,"

The opposition dismissed Mr. Gbagbo’s accusation as yet another attempt to prevent this year’s election, which has been postponed since 2005 from taking place.

But Sery said President Gbagbo supports the scheduled election.

“Yes, we were on a good track to have an election this year and everyone wants election this year because the country is tired to be in this situation. We received congratulations from the international community, the World Bank…I can speak on behalf of the president that he wants the elections to be held,” Sery said.

Opposition parties often accuse President Laurent Gbagbo’s ruling party of having a stronghold on the national television and other state media institutions.

Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie, both opposition candidates, complained of being marginalized by the state broadcaster -- a charge presidential advisor Sery denies.

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