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Country awaits overdue partial results

Text by Guillaume GUGUEN

Latest update : 2010-12-03

Official partial results from Ivory Coast's presidential election run-off were expected at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, but no word has yet come from officials. Turnout on Sunday was about 70 percent, says the country's Independent Electoral Commission.

Ivory Coast's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced the votes obtained by the two finalists from the Ivorian diaspora in 16 foreign countries in a National Radio and Television (RTI) channel broadcast on Monday.

Alassane Ouattara, a Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) coalition candidate won 59.97 percent of the votes, while incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, Presidential Majority (LMP) party candidate, obtained 40.03 percent of votes. But official national results aren’t likely to come before Wednesday.

FRANCE 24’s correspondent Francois Picard, reporting from the capital Abidjan, said that people have been kept waiting for the results to arrive. “The electoral commissioners themselves are not picking up the phone, they’re busy working. It’s adding a little bit to the tension - with the overnight curfew, things had been a little tense in the capital,” he said.

“Everybody is still playing the waiting game,” he added.

The IEC has until Wednesday night to announce provisional results, which will then be submitted to the Constitutional Council.

According to the first tally of votes collected abroad, Alassane Ouattara won 59.97 percent of the votes, while Laurent Gbagbo obtained 40.03 percent of votes.

The IEC also announced on Monday that the turnout in the run-off was approximately 70 percent of the 5.7 million registered voters. This figure is lower than in the first round, which saw 83 percent of registered voters rushing to the polling stations.

A 'broadly democratic' second round, says UN

Pending results from within the country, leaders of both parties - who have pledged repeatedly to respect the verdict of the polls - say they are confident. But each side has accused the other of irregularities around the country. Gbagbo’s LMP party denounced "a non-transparent election" in the northern stronghold of the former rebel New Forces (FN). Two people were killed there on Sunday, according to the Interior Ministry, an attack that Prime Minister Guillaume Soro described as "dangerously partisan".

RHDP for its side alleged intimidation and pressure on voters in the country’s south-west and central-west, where United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) confirmed the deaths of three people on Monday (two soldiers and a civilian). These incidents could lead the IEC to review the results of the affected polling stations, but not, however, challenge Sunday’s vote.

At a press conference yesterday, special representative of UN Secretary General in the Ivory Coast, Young-Jin Choi, said that despite these incidents, the second round had been "broadly democratic". Anxious to cut short any "rumours, suspicions and false alarms", the head of UNOCI has also said that the transport of the official count, entrusted to the organisation, took place as normal. "I have no doubt that the will of the Ivorian people will be respected," he said.

An uncertain outcome

Just hours from the results, the outcome of this critical election, meant to restore the unity of a country undermined by a decade of political and military crises, remains uncertain. During second round campaigning, the two finalists worked hard to curry favour with backers of former President Henri Konan Bedie (1995-1999), who came third on October 31 with more 25 percent of the vote.

For Gbagbo, like Ouattara, the equation is simple: to garner more than 38 percent of the votes cast in the first round. Gbagbo must clinch half the votes of his predecessor to emerge victorious. Ouattara, who got 32.03 percent, must gather two-thirds of Bedie’s voters to win.

Date created : 2010-11-30

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