Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cote d'Ivoire to Hold Presidential Poll

Cote d’Ivoire to hold presidential poll

UNITED NATIONS--Cote d’Ivoire’s UN envoy announced yesterday that his country would hold long-delayed presidential polls by December 6, catching the opposition by surprise.

Ambassador Ilahiri Djedje told the UN Security Council that the first round of the election, which has been put off repeatedly since President Laurent Gbagbo’s mandate ran out in 2005, will finally be held before year’s end.

"The peace process in Cote d’Ivoire is not stalling, the political decision has been made," he said.

The exact date of the election, which the Independent Electoral Commission has set between October 11 and December 6, would be announced by Gbagbo "in the coming days," Djeje added.

Gbagbo also said Friday that the election would take place this year.

But the country’s two main opposition parties were surprised by the announcement and its origin.

"The institution that decides the date of elections is the independent electoral commission, not an embassy," said Niamkey Koffi, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast.

"The CEI has not told us anything about the dates so far," he said.

Ally Coulibaly, spokesman of the Rally of Republicans, also found it "strange that the announcement comes from New York, from the mouth of the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire at the United Nations."

Coulibaly said it is up to the commission to decide on a schedule for the elections and submit it to the president, who then ratifies it in a decree. — AFP.

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