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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid