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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More