News / Africa

Ivory Coast Presidential Campaigns About to Get Underway

Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Guillaume Soro (R) speaks during a meeting with President Laurent Gbagbo (2ndL) and party leaders at the presidential palace in Abidjan ahead of a presidential poll on October 31, 2010,  06 Sep 2010
Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Guillaume Soro (R) speaks during a meeting with President Laurent Gbagbo (2ndL) and party leaders at the presidential palace in Abidjan ahead of a presidential poll on October 31, 2010, 06 Sep 2010
Anne Look

As candidates in Ivory Coast prepare to launch their official campaigns Friday, election observers say a lot remains to be done to get the country ready to hold its long-delayed presidential poll on October 31.

Ivory Coast looks closer than ever to holding a presidential poll that has already been pushed back six times in the past five years.

Though official campaigning does not kick off until Friday, many of the 14 presidential candidates have already begun addressing crowds at rallies around the country.

In Abidjan this weekend, current president and candidate, Laurent Gbagbo tells a crowd that he is asking for their votes to rebuild Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast has stumbled, he says, but its head did not touch the ground.

The election is meant to bring an end to nearly a decade of political crisis after a 2002 civil war split the country between north and south.

With less than three weeks to go, Ivory Coast's electoral commission says preparations are moving forward and it will be ready for the poll on October 31.

Sabina Vigani is the Ivory Coast country director for the American-based Carter Center, which has been on the ground in Ivory Coast for the past two years and has already deployed 10 long-term election observers around the country.  

Vigani says the timeline for holding elections on the 31 is tight. A lot of work is still underway, but she says the authorities have demonstrated a strong political will to do everything they can to respect that date. She says a lot of funding has been mobilized, particularly from the international community. Still, in the weeks ahead, she says there is a lot to be done.

Ivory Coast is still in the process of recruiting and training the more than 60,000 polling agents it will need on October 31.  

The Carter Center's Vigani says well-trained voting staff are vital to a peaceful and successful vote.

She says on voting day, poor management of polling stations could create tension and delays in the voting process. To ensure qualified personnel, she says Ivorian authorities are in the process of recruiting polling staff from among civil servants, including teachers and state health and environmental workers.

The questions of "who is Ivorian" and "who can vote" were at the heart of the 2002-2003 civil war, and Ivory Coast overcame a persistent electoral hurdle last month with the publication of a definitive voter list containing more than 5.7 million names.

Electoral authorities began distributing electoral and identity cards to voters in Abidjan last week, but Vigani says progress in the rest of the country has been slow.

She says Bouake, the main rebel town in the north, is the only place outside Abidjan where cards are currently being distributed. In many regions, she says voter and ID cards have arrived but distribution staff must finish their training before they can begin handing them out. She says distribution is gradually spreading throughout the country, and by the end of the week voters in regional centers and the more urban areas should begin receiving their cards.

Voters, she said, will also be able to pick up their cards on election day.

The United Nations Operation to Ivory Coast is assisting Ivorian authorities with logistical preparations of the poll, including transporting voter materials to polling stations.

Last week, the U.N. began deploying an additional 500 peacekeepers to Ivory Coast to support the 8000-soldier Ivorian force that will be responsible for security during the election. According to Ouagadougou peace accords, half of those 8000 soldiers will come from government troops and the other half from the former rebel factions in the north.

Jean-Pierre Pallasset is commander of the French military operation in Ivory Coast, called the Force Licorne, that is training the Ivorian electoral security force.

Pallasset says it is essential that the soldiers be able to remain calm to inspire confidence and show Ivorians that they are ready no matter what happens. He says they need to be able to assess situations and take initiative while at the same time remaining disciplined. He says they need to learn, for example, that a large crowd is not necessarily hostile.

The country's rebel factions in the north were set to be disarmed before the poll, but instead rebel leaders say their forces will be confined to barracks for the vote.

The Carter Center's Vigani says a lot remains to be done with regards to both the former rebels in the north and the pro-government militias in south, but she says authorities are aware of the risks, which will hopefully help prevent problems. She says people are particularly alert and know that certain issues will not be resolved until after the vote.

Though not a cure-all, she said, a successful poll would open the way for a true reunification of the country.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid