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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid