News / Africa

Ivorians Vote On Sunday After A Long Delay

Men wait to retreive their identity cards as well as their electors cards for the presidential elections iin Bouake, Oct 27, 2010
Men wait to retreive their identity cards as well as their electors cards for the presidential elections iin Bouake, Oct 27, 2010
Anne Look

In Ivory Coast's long-delayed presidential poll Sunday, President Laurent Gbagbo will face key opposition candidates, Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie.

Ivorians head to the polls Sunday to vote in the country's long-delayed presidential election.

The vote, which has been pushed back six times since 2005, pits current president Laurent Gbagbo against 13 other candidates, including opposition frontrunners, Henri Konan Bedie and Alassane Ouattara.

In the run-up to the poll, Ivorian authorities began distributing identity and voter cards for the first time in a decade. It was a landmark step, but the question of Ivorian identity has continued to underscore campaigning between the lead candidates, just as it did the 2002-2003 civil war and repeated electoral delays.  

On the campaign trail, President Gbagbo has represented himself as the country's liberator from its former colonial ruler, France, which he says supports his opposition rivals and supported northern rebels who tried to oust him in 2002.

Speaking to a rally in the western town of Man, Mr. Gbagbo says "no one can topple us with just some Kalachnikov, because we are ready to fight to be respected". He says he came to power through elections and he will go one day, either because he is no longer running for election or he is beaten in a poll.

Mr. Gbagbo, who has said he is confident of victory, has been president of Ivory Coast since 2000, though his mandate ran out in 2005.

Opposition members accused him of stalling elections to remain in power, but Mr. Gbagbo blamed technical reasons for electoral postponements.

At a rally in Abidjan Wednesday, candidate and former president, Henri Konan Bedie, said the situation in Ivory Coast has gotten worse in the past decade.

He says governance in Ivory Coast has declined and national unity has weakened. Poor management of international relations has isolated and weakened the country. He says democracy has been strangled, the media has been confiscated and human rights are violated.

Bedie was president of Ivory Coast from 1993 until 1999. He was seen as the chosen successor of Ivory Coast's first president, Houpheout Boigny, and he has promised to restore the country to that golden age.

In 1999, Bedie was ousted in a military coup. He was then barred from running in the 2000 elections in which he would have opposed coup leader Robert Guei and current President Gbagbo.

The 76-year-old candidate has said that if he wins this election, it will be his last mandate.

Bedie is part of an opposition coalition that includes former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara, who is Bedie's primary opposition rival in this first round of polling.

It will be Ouattara's first presidential poll. He was barred from elections in 1995 and 2000 because of questions about his nationality. Ouattara is from the northern part of the country where many people are descendants of migrant workers, and it was rumored that Ouattara's mother came from Burkina Faso.

At a campaign rally, Ouattara says "if we have not resolved our problems in the last ten years, we shall not manage to do so in the next five years."   He says "that is why we need change on October 31st." He says "we have to bring change democratically on this day. He says "that is why I came to ask you to vote Alassane Dramane Ouattara, for change in Ivory Coast."

A former deputy chief at the International Monetary Fund, Ouattara has promised to rebuild Ivory Coast and campaigned on the promise to offer "solutions" to Ivorians.

Opinion polls have put Gbagbo in the lead, but analysts say it will be a tight race that could most likely go to a second round.

Some Ivorians fear disagreements over the results of Sunday's poll could reignite violence, but candidates and the country's electoral commission have called for a peaceful vote.

An Ivorian force, composed of half government troops and half former rebel fighters and supported by U.N. peacekeepers, is responsible for security during the poll.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid