Ivory Coast Presidential Candidates Agree on Voter List
Ivory Coast Presidential Candidates Agree on Voter List

Ivory Coast's president has approved a finalized list of eligible voters, a crucial step towards holding much-delayed elections.

President Laurent Gbagbo signed a decree on Thursday validating the list.

Ivory Coast's presidential election has been delayed seven times in five years, mainly because of disputes over voter eligibility. Ivorians are now scheduled to vote October 31.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro said all presidential candidates have agreed on the voter list.

Questions related to who is eligible to vote and who can be an Ivorian citizen have been at the heart of the election dispute.

In February, President Gbagbo dissolved the electoral commission and the government after accusing the commission chief of illegally registering voters.  

That set off two weeks of sometimes violent protests until a new commission and government were formed.

Mr. Gbagbo's term ended in 2005, but he has remained in power through the repeated election delays.

The West African country is trying to recover from a 2002 civil war that split it into a rebel-controlled north and government-run south.  The two sides set up a unity government following a 2007 peace deal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.