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Ivorian Political Leaders Committed to Free, Fair October Election

  • Peter Clottey

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

A special adviser to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo said the country’s political leaders have unanimously agreed in principle to resolve all outstanding issues to ensure the 31st October general election is not derailed.

Lambert Bahi Sery told VOA the leaders also encouraged the electoral commission to publish the voter register this week ahead of the vote.

“The President (Laurent Gbagbo) and the Prime Minister (Guillaume Soro) met with two of the major opponents, former President Henri Konan Bedie and Alassane Draman Ouatarra. They discussed the last steps toward the elections. The meeting also discussed the voter list. Everybody wants a free and fair election and that depends on the quality of the electoral list that you have,” he said.

Sery said the political leaders urged the chairman of the independent electoral commission to provide a credible voter register for the upcoming October general election.

Backed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore has been mediating talks between Ivory Coast’s political leaders as part of the regional bloc’s effort to help return the country to constitutional rule after years of conflict.

The Ivorian leaders also planned talks in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, to be mediated by President Compaore.

“They agreed to have a meeting in Burkina Faso around 17th September to discuss with the mediator about some details regarding the peace process and the organization of the elections.”

The country is divided into two following the 2002 civil war with the rebel held north and the government controlled south.

The 2007 peace accord signed in Ouagadougou stipulates that the country must be re-united before any election that will restore constitutional order. Sery said Ivory Coast has made tremendous progress in efforts to unify the country ahead of the election.

“The re-unification of the country is already ongoing. There is no problem. They started regrouping the military of the (rebels) into the different sites that have been proposed for their regrouping and disarmament. And then, some of the administrative bodies are being redeployed in this zone. So, the process on that side is moving smoothly.”