Turnout in Ivory Coast’s presidential election on Sunday was around 60 percent, a senior electoral official said on Monday, allaying fears that poor participation would mar a vote expected to return President Alassane Ouattara to office.
"The participation rate is around 60 percent - a figure which will become more precise as results gradually come in," said the vice-president of the Independent Electoral Commission, Sorou Kone.
The announcement came after a day of peaceful voting in a presidential election seen as crucial to turning the page on a decade-long political crisis and a civil war in 2011.
President Alassane Ouattara, whose leadership has helped the West African nation re-emerge as a rising economic star on the continent, is facing a divided opposition and is heavily favoured to win re-election.
While the risk of poll violence was considered low, tens of thousands of soldiers and police were deployed across the country to ensure security for the poll, in which voters faced a choice of seven candidates.
Leaders of a break-away faction of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), the party of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, had called for a boycott of the election.
Anticipation mounts at a polling station in Abidjan’s Abobo neighbourhood early Sunday as Ivory Coast holds its first election since a civil war sparked by the 2010 vote.
An Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official arranges the ballot papers before voters arrive at an Abidjan polling station.
In Yopougon, as in many other districts of Abidjan, polling stations opened two hours late due to the late arrival of election materials.
To avoid disputes, polling stations are equipped with digital tablets to record the fingerprint of each voter.
Around 6.3 million people have registered to vote on Sunday. Voter turnout will be critical to legitimising the mandate of whoever wins.
After casting their ballots, voters dip a finger in indelible ink as part of efforts to prevent fraud.
Election observers and diplomats said Sunday's vote, which is crucial to reassuring investors and turning the page on Ivory Coast's violent political past, was held without major incident.
There were concerns that many voters would stay at home because the outcome of the election was perceived to be in little doubt. Ouattara, who has led the West African nation to an economic revival, is heavily favoured to win a second five-year term.
The commission was expected to begin announcing partial results on Monday afternoon.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2015-10-26