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Opposition Demands Immediate Release of Ivory Coast Election Results

Ivorian soldiers stand guard at the entrance to electoral commission headquarters in Abidjan, 01 Dec 2010
Ivorian soldiers stand guard at the entrance to electoral commission headquarters in Abidjan, 01 Dec 2010

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Ivory Coast's opposition candidate is calling for the immediate release of results from Sunday's presidential election. Those results have been delayed by supporters of the current president who has extended an overnight curfew.

Former prime minister Alassane Ouattara says it is imperative the electoral commission immediately declare the results of this vote.

Ouattara called on President Laurent Gbagbo to honor their pre-election agreement to abide by the results of this vote. He said delaying those results worries voters who have been waiting nearly three days.

By law, the electoral commission has until midnight Wednesday to announce a winner. But that has been delayed by supporters of President Gbagbo who are insisting that the commission annul results from northern regions where they say the Ouattara campaign engaged in electoral fraud.

Electoral commissioner Damana Adia Pickass, who is from the Gbagbo campaign, says announcing those results would amount to an electoral coup d'etat, and Gbagbo supporters should stay calm as the president's allies work to publish only credible results.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined Ouattara in calling for the electoral commission to meet its Wednesday deadline for announcing a winner.

Ouattara campaign director Marcel Amon Tanoh says President Gbagbo's interference with the work of the electoral commission shows he knows he has been beaten.

Tanoh says if Laurent Gbagbo knew he was going to win, he would not have prevented the electoral commission from announcing results on state-run television. Tanoh says doing so shows that the president knows he has lost.

Observers from the U.S.-based Carter Center say there were serious electoral crimes during Sunday's vote, including the destruction of election materials and voter intimidation, as well as the theft of ballot boxes. But they say it is not yet clear if those irregularities will affect the overall credibility of the vote.

Carter Center Peace Programs Vice President John Stremlau says it is now up to Gbagbo and Ouattara to conclude this electoral process peacefully. "They must show the statesmanship and civility and commitment to the broader national interests they demonstrated in their debate last Thursday evening. And leaders must take responsibility for the actions of their supporters and reign in any tendency toward violence that could undermine the enormous progress made so far," he said.

Days before this vote, President Gbagbo imposed an overnight curfew that was to have expired early Thursday. That curfew has been extended through Sunday.

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