News / Africa

Ivorian Presidential Candidates Hit Campaign Trail

After receiving their voter ID cards, local residents wait in line to claim their newly-issued national identity cards in the Plateau neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 7 Oct 2010
After receiving their voter ID cards, local residents wait in line to claim their newly-issued national identity cards in the Plateau neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 7 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Official campaigning has begun in Ivory Coast's long-delayed presidential race, as election officials continue preparations for the vote on October 31st.

This weekend, Ivory Coast's 14 presidential candidates officially hit the campaign trail, raising hopes the country will hold its much-awaited poll at the end of this month, after five years of delays.  The election is intended to bring an end to nearly a decade of political crisis after a 2002 civil war split the country between north and south.

Former prime minister and a lead opposition candidate, Alassane Ouattara, launched his campaign Friday at a rally in Abidjan.  Addressing the crowd, Mr. Ouattara said this is history.  He said it starts "today" at this "precise moment" and will take shape on October 31st for all Ivorians.  He said the people of the nation can give a better future to their country by putting the destiny of Ivory Coast in the hands of a man who knows what he is doing.

If elected, Mr. Ouattara promised to continue on the path of reconciliation and form a government composed of diverse political forces and civil society members.

In the capital city of Yamoussoukro, Mr. Ouattara is to take part in a meeting with other leaders of the country's main opposition coalition, including electoral rival and former president Henri Konan Bedie.  The group will discuss plans for a shared government, should an opposition candidate win the race.

In the far west of the country, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo officially opened his campaign in the town of Man, the site of some of the worst fighting during the civil war.  Mr. Gbagbo said he will bring places of work.  He said it is because young people do not have work and have been lied to that they took up weapons.  A young man who works, he says, does not take up arms.

Mr. Gbagbo also reiterated promises to nearly double the country's cocoa production and build a grinding factory in every cocoa-producing region.  Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer, and investors hope the election will clear the way for much-needed reforms to the sector.

In Man, election authorities are distributing voter and identity cards.  It is an important, and richly symbolic, step for Ivorians, as the questions of "who is Ivorian" and "who can vote" were at the heart of the civil war and repeated electoral delays.

The head of the card distribution center in Man, Sinaly Diomande, said the ID card is like a diamond for Ivorians.  He said that's because once they receive their ID card, their face changes.  Diomande said voters feel they have received something worth millions, even though it is just a national Ivorian ID card.

Election observers, however, said much remains to be done before October 31st, including training polling staff and putting in place systems to tabulate results.

Analysts said this first round of polling is likely to be a tight contest between the top three candidates, Gbagbo, Bedie and Ouattara.  There are concerns that disputes over results could reignite violence.

The United Nations has begun deploying an additional 500 peacekeepers to Ivory Coast to support the Ivorian force responsible for security during the election.  According to Ouagadougou peace accords, half of those 8,000 Ivorian soldiers will come from government troops and the other half from the former rebel factions in the north.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs