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Rivals set new deadline for elusive presidential poll

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-03

Mediators tasked with ending the political deadlock in Ivory Coast have set a target of March 2010 for the country to hold its long overdue presidential election.

REUTERS - Ivory Coast should hold its long-delayed presidential election in late February or early March of next year, mediators aiming to end the political stalemate said on Thursday.

The new target date was included in a statement issued by the so-called Permanent Framework of Consultations (PFC) on Ivory Coast after a day of talks with the main political parties in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou.

The world's biggest cocoa grower missed on Sunday the latest in a long line of failed target dates for a presidential election aimed at drawing a line under a brief 2002/3 civil war that has split the country in two. Authorities cited technical problems including a dispute over the eligibility of about one million voters.

The timetable proposed by the PFC includes publishing a final voter list in January 2010 followed by the distribution of voter cards and the start of campaigning in February.

Analysts say delays to the poll have prolonged a deadlock dating back to the war that has prevented reforms to the cocoa industry and unnerved potential investors in west Africa's former economic hub.

Critics accuse President Laurent Gbagbo of deliberately delaying the election, something he has repeatedly denied.

Earlier on Thursday former colonial power France urged Ivory Coast in a statement to organise the poll as soon as possible.

Date created : 2009-12-04


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