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PM to appoint new cabinet, begin talks on political crisis

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-12-03

Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has announced that he will appoint a cabinet on Tuesday and immediately begin talks with the new administration to try to resolve a political rift with the opposition and keep long-awaited elections in sight.

More than 10 days after a political crisis paralysed the nation following President Laurent Gbagbo's decision to sack the government, Ivory Coast Prime Minister Guillaume Soro will put forward a new cabinet on Tuesday and immediately begin consultations with the new administration. 

"Tomorrow I will announce the Ivory Coast government and soon after we will hold our cabinet meeting," Soro told journalists following Monday talks with Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, who is mediating the crisis.
 
Speaking to reporters in Abidjan on Monday, Compaore said the main players in Ivory Coast's political crisis have also agreed to reconstitute the sacked Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) this week. Gbagbo dissolved the electoral commission on Feb. 12 after accusing the head of the body of inflating the numbers of opposition supporters on voter lists.
 
The opposition claims he was trying to delay the elections indefinitely.
 
Compaore's visit to Abidjan follows the collapse of talks in Ouagadougou on Sunday with the main opposition leaders, Henri Konan Bedie and Alassane Ouattara, who remain wary of Soro’s motives and the composition of a new government.
 
Ouattara welcomed the decision to reinstate the Independent Electoral Commission. “It was our principal request,” he said, adding that the electoral body would hold its first meeting on Thursday.
 
“The most important thing is to get back to work as quickly as possible,” he said, calling for an end to the “contentiousness” that was delaying the first round of the widely anticipated presidential election, which he said should be held by the start of May.
  
The ongoing political crisis has cast fresh doubt on the West African nation's ability to hold a successful presidential poll, which had been scheduled for March and has already been postponed six times since Gbagbo's mandate ran out in 2005.
 
Public anger has been mounting following numerous delays to the election timetable. It is hoped the poll will draw a line under a bitter 2002-2003 civil war that split the country in two and brought economic growth to a near standstill.

The government has cracked down on dissent and the spread of information in the wake of the latest political turmoil. At least two people were killed in protests in Daloa on Monday, according to the International Committee for the Red Cross, bringing the death toll since the latest unrest began to seven. FRANCE 24 television broadcasts were suspended inside the country on Monday.

 

Date created : 2010-02-23

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