A top official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on the people of Ivory Coast to demonstrate what he described as the same maturity and patriotism in the scheduled 28th November presidential run-off vote seen in Sunday’s election.
Sonny Ugoh, communications director for the West African regional bloc, said there is consensus among both local and international poll observers that Sunday’s vote was credible.
“(The) People of Cote d’Ivoire made the ECOWAS region and the country very proud by going to vote peacefully to the election after 10 years. So, we are looking forward to the run-off, confident that the people of Cote d’Ivoire will put the interest of their country superior to the narrow interest of the parties to go once again and vote peacefully for a candidate of their choice.”
This came after former President Henri Konan Bedie claimed the election was rigged after placing third with 25 percent of the total vote cast. His party is demanding a recount, alleging that someone rigged the results.
Final results from the country's election commission Thursday show President Laurent Gbagbo winning 38 percent of the vote, followed by former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara with 32 percent.
The presidential election is headed for a run-off after no candidate won a majority.
Ugoh said the responsibility rests on former President Bedie to prove that Sunday’s election was rigged.
“If it turns out that there are some people who have problems with the outcome, we trust that patriotic instincts will guide them to resort to the constitutionally-laid down procedure for challenging the results of the election,” said Ugoh.
“If he said so (rigging), that would be contrary to the position of our observers (because) we have about 200 observers on the ground and…I think the onus is on him to produce the evidence that that happened. But, it is important for him to realize that he occupies a very sensitive position in the politic of Cote d’Ivoire.”
President Gbagbo's term officially ended in 2005. New elections were repeatedly postponed because of failure to disarm rebels and disputes over voter registration.
Many Ivorians feared this week's election could trigger new violence. But, the main city of Abidjan and other areas were reported to be calm Thursday.