Ivory Coast elections peaceful in Abidjan, chaotic in Paris
Monday 1 November 2010 / by Falila Gbadamassi
Sunday’s presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire saw more than 5.7 million Ivorians going to the polls. Whilst the electoral process went smoothly in the West African country, Paris, which is home to a third of the Ivorian Diaspora suffered some unexpected setbacks.
Sunday’s electoral process in the West African nation of La Côte d’Ivoire went smoothly with over 5.7 million Ivorians going to the polls to elect President Laurent Gbagbo’s successor from a list of 14 candidates.
Leaders of the two largest opposition groups, Henri Konan Bedie, president of PDCI (Parti Démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire) and Alassane Ouattara, leader of RDR (Rassemblement des Républicains), cast their votes at the same polling station in Cocody, one of the residential areas in the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.
The incumbent president, who is also running in the elections, cast his vote in Riviera, another residential area of the city.
And as analysts debated over the volatile political situation in the country, especially after the presidential elections were continuously postponed for five years, the three men, after casting their votes, appealed to the Ivorian population to remain calm and respect the polls’ outcome.
Vote counting begins
No major incident was reported in the country. “It is very encouraging, because the ongoing process is peaceful and orderly,” Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Côte d’Ivoire, YJ Choi, said Sunday afternoon.
The UN official visited three polling stations in Abidjan and South-Comoé in Central Côte d’Ivoire.
Nonetheless, some polling stations opened late. In Paris, France, where a third of the Ivorian diaspora resides, five polling stations were closed following clashes.
“Last Tuesday, the president of CEI (Independent Electoral Commission, ed) for France unilaterally reshuffled the voters’ list and polling stations,” regrets a member of that committee. “But voters were not informed,” Le Parisien confirmed on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in Côte d’Ivoire, Youssouf Bakayoko, CEI president has congratulated the CEI for a smooth delivery. Polling stations closed their doors at 5 pm (17 hours GMT).
Consular sources have announced that counting is underway and initial results should be available by Monday 1 November.