News / Africa

    Election Observers Prepare for Sunday's Ivory Coast Vote

    A man walks past an election poster for incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, as presidential campaigning kicked off, 15 Oct. 2010 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
    A man walks past an election poster for incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, as presidential campaigning kicked off, 15 Oct. 2010 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

    Election observers in Ivory Coast are preparing for Sunday's presidential vote. Local and international observers will monitor a poll that is meant to reunite the country after a decade of political and military turmoil.

    European Union observers met for a final briefing before taking up positions across the country.

    European Parliament member Christian Preda, who leads the observer mission, says the European Union has had 32 election observers in place since October 15. The teams taking up positions today will visit a cross-section of polling stations in 17 regions to monitor preparations for the vote, the distribution of voter cards, candidate campaigning and the role of the media in covering the campaign.

    The EU mission will announce its preliminary findings on the fairness of the poll within two days of Sunday's vote and will keep some observers in Ivory Coast during the post-electoral period as well.

    The United Nations observer mission and the Economic Community of West African States will also monitor this vote, along with 34 local civil society groups registered with the electoral commission as official observers.

    Marie Paule Kodjo, who runs the nonprofit Women's Committee for Elections and Reconstruction, says her group's volunteers have taught voters across the country how to mark their ballots. For example, she says they are telling voters to mark only within the box under their candidate and not to fold the ballot, as the ink could mark the other side of the page and make the ballot invalid.

    Ten years ago, about 18 percent of ballots were declared invalid. Kodjo says the goal for this vote is to see the number of spoiled ballots below ten percent.

    Nane Amelie Kipre says the group's observers have been trained to remain neutral.

    On poll day, Kipre says observers will watch for any disruptions and work to promote a peaceful environment. She says sometimes when people see your electoral card, they categorize you. Kipre says someone wearing a traditional boubou might be assumed to be a supporter of Alassane Ouattara, so observers will watch for any prejudicial treatment.

    Ouattara is one of the three leading candidates in this vote along with current President Laurent Gbabgo and former president Henri Konan Bedie. If no one wins a simple majority Sunday there will be a second round run-off in late November.

    Voter turnout is not only important for the candidates. It reflects the level of public support for an electoral process that has been repeatedly delayed since 2005.

    Volunteers from the Women's Committee for Elections and Reconstruction are encouraging people to go to the polls.

    Volunteer Pierre Octave Guede says some people are apathetic about the candidates and others only registered to vote to get a national identity card. He says the right to vote is more important than an identity card. He is troubled by young people in his neighborhood who say they just wanted the ID card and do not care about voting. That, he says, is a problem.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora