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Africa

Elections will be held by December 6 at latest, promise authorities

Latest update : 2009-04-30

The Ivory Coast's envoy to the UN Security Council, Ilahiri Djedje, pledged that his country will hold long-delayed presidential elections by December 6, 2009 at the latest, arguing that the peace process in his troubled country is moving forward.

AFP - Ivory Coast will hold the first round of its long-delayed presidential election by December 6 at the latest, the country's UN envoy said Tuesday.
   
Abidjan's envoy Ilahiri Djedje told the UN Security Council that 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 (Ivory Coast) 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.
   
The government hopes to complete registration of all eligible voters by mid-June 2009, the envoy said. Some 6,081,625 voters have already been counted out of a possible 8,600,000.
   
Djeje also appealed to the United Nations to "not get discouraged" by the successive election delays and to "continue its efforts in helping the people and the government of Cote d'Ivoire to effectively overcome the crisis by holding elections in 2009."
   
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned earlier this month against losing momentum in Ivory Coast's peace process and delaying elections yet again.
   
Ivory Coast "urgently requires credible and transparent elections that will bring to a successful conclusion the current transitional arrangements," he said.
   
The former French colony, the world's top cocoa grower, was sliced in half after a September 2002 coup attempt against Gbagbo led by Prime Minister Guillaume Soro's New Forces (FN) which took control of the northern part of the country in a power-sharing agreement.
   
Peace accords signed in 2007 and then late 2008 in Ouagadougou first saw Soro become head of government, and then set a timetable for the presidential election which has since lapsed.

Date created : 2009-04-29

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