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

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' 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.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs