Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Refugee drama: 'A truck full of corpses'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Two French journalists arrested for 'attempted blackmail of Moroccan king'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

From Sarkozy to Kim Kardashian: Staged celebrity photos

Read more

THE DEBATE

The 'You Stink' movement: Lebanon garbage crisis sparks new wave of protests (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

The 'You Stink' movement: Lebanon garbage crisis sparks new wave of protests (part 1)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria marks 500 days since kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls

Read more

ENCORE!

French director Audiard on his Cannes winner, 'Dheepan'

Read more

FOCUS

Scandals tarnish reputation of India's pharmaceutical industry

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans is bustling

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2009-12-11

Ivory Coast’s long-awaited election

It’s been nearly five years now, since 2005, against a backdrop of civil war and political crisis, and Ivorians are still waiting for a presidential election that has yet to take place. Elections are now supposed to take place next in spring. But voters remain skeptical. What has led to these repeated postponements?

 

When Willy Bracciano and I were sent to Ivory Coast to find out why a presidential election first slated for 2005 was yet again pushed back to an undetermined date, we were braced for the worst.
 
Officially, the civil war’s over. But disarmament is still to come. Despite a 2007 peace deal, the delays have made it Africa’s most expensive election process ever.
 
When we got there, residents of this former French colony expressed genuine hope. Provisional voter rolls have been posted – starting the theoretical countdown to election day.
 
We soon found out one of the main reasons why the process has been so long and costly.
 
In a country whose economy rests on cheap foreign labor from surrounding states, where elections used to rhyme with accusations over who’s Ivorian and who’s not, and where most never bothered in the past with proof of citizenship, a French company’s been called in to offer sophisticated 21st Century biometric technology to create from scratch a data base for the country’s 20 million citizens.
 
On a personal note, this assignment was a homecoming. For three years between 1995 and 1998, I was the Radio France International correspondent in Abidjan.
Back then, Ivory Coast was a model of stability. Civil war was unthinkable. The war’s taught many to temper their rhetoric.
 
There’s also a lot more wealth – new luxury homes bought thanks to the Ivorian diaspora and profits from the export of cocoa and offshore oil.
 
We also found lot more poverty with new shanty towns in many neighborhoods, rising poverty, and a dipping literacy rate.
 
Will the former rebels, who still control the north and the pro-government militias go quietly? Hard to say, but so many we met have put their faith – at least so far - in the electoral process. If it goes well, they insist that the price of the election will have been well worth it.

 

By François PICARD , Willy BRACCIANO

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-08-21 Kenya

Kenya's Iten: Home of athletic champions

The small town of Iten in Kenya is a long distance runner’s paradise. Dozens of champions have trained in the town, situated at an altitude of 2,600 metres. It has become the...

Read more

2015-08-14 Afghanistan

The Afghan interpreters left behind by the French army

At the end of 2014, the French army completely withdrew from Afghanistan. But it left behind its former Afghan interpreters who now live in fear of the Taliban, who accuse them...

Read more

2015-07-21 Iran

Iran: How the nuclear deal was done

On July 14th, Iran and six world powers struck a deal that brought an end to over 12 years of bitter stalemate. Tehran, suspected by some nations of attempting to acquire an...

Read more

2015-07-17 India

India's Christians forced to pray in secret

Many Christians in India have to pray in secret. Churches are being set on fire, believers attacked and property vandalised. This rising tide of violence shows no sign of...

Read more

2015-07-09 China

Is China choking to death?

A barely visible sun and a thick, smothering smog... After decades of rampant industrialisation, China is suffocating. Last year, the government declared war on pollution and...

Read more