News / Africa

Despite Boycotts, Hopes High for Parliamentary Vote in Ivory Coast

A cyclist rides past a campaign poster of candidates of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast in Abidjan December 6, 2011. The slogan on the poster reads "Experience and youth at your service."
A cyclist rides past a campaign poster of candidates of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast in Abidjan December 6, 2011. The slogan on the poster reads "Experience and youth at your service."
TEXT SIZE - +

On Sunday, Ivory Coast will vote in its first parliamentary elections since 2000, when former President Laurent Gbagbo first took power. Six months after his ouster, there is still the threat of violence but most Ivorians are looking to return to peace and prosperity.

In what is being called "the election to exit the crisis," President Alassane Ouattara's Democratic Party is poised to win the majority of the 255 parliament seats up for grabs.  The Election Commission says almost 1,000 candidates are vying for those 255 seats.

With Gbagbo awaiting an International Criminal Court hearing in the Netherlands, some of his supporters have called for a boycott of the elections. This increases the Democratic Party's electoral odds, but also the threat of violence. On Wednesday, Ivory Coast officials say three people were killed and three wounded when a rocket was fired into a residential courtyard in the Grand Lahou region just before an election rally of supporters of President Ouattara.

Step toward reconciliation

At a press conference in Abidjan on Friday Bert Koenders, chief of the United Nations Operation in Côte I'voire (UNOCI), said the challenges are not as great as the opportunities.

Koenders says legislative elections have to be an important step towards national reconciliation. He says it is possible and will be a path to economic and social development in Ivory Coast, and it will be the priority after the elections.

Still, the Electoral Commission and its partners have taken extensive measures to ensure fairness and security. According to the UNOCI, there are over 150 international election observers. They join the Ivorian military and about 3,000 national observers, which is the same number killed in the country in the violence following last year's presidential election.

Koenders says they have made a very precise and detailed security plan that will comfort voters. He says that they have also conducted a thorough investigation into the country's problems and are aware of the problematic areas.

Chris Hennemeyer is a consultant for International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which provides technical support to the Electoral Commission. He believes any violence will be isolated and the biggest problems of the vote in the post-conflict country will be logistical.

"That's my concern, that all ballots and candidate lists and voting equipment is where it needs to be when polls open at 7:00 tomorrow morning," said Hennemeyer.

With hundreds of candidates running, it is a large undertaking for any government, especially one as young and tenuous as President Ouattara's. But Hennemeyer says the government is fortunate to have a population eager to return to its former economic and social standing.

"The Ivorians have really impressed me with how quickly they've gotten back to some semblance of normalcy here," he said. "I was here in July and the country was still a little bit tense. That's largely disappeared now. People have gotten back to work, back to business, and that's a good sign."

Hennemeyer added that the country still has a long way to go and many of its political problems will not be resolved by this election.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid