Latest update: 03/12/2010
Council refuses ballot recount, sets Nov. 21 for run-off vote
Ivory Coast’s constitutional council validated the first round presidential election results Saturday evening, thereby denying opposition leaders a requested recount. The vote between the two leading candidates will now go ahead on 21 Nov.
By News Wires (text)
REUTERS - Ivory Coast's constitutional council overruled on Saturday challenges to the outcome of last week's presidential election, sending President Laurent Gbagbo and a rival into a run-off later this month.
The decision came just hours after the West African country's main opposition parties demanded a recount, citing irregularities in a much-delayed vote which aims to end deadlock in a nation split by a 2002-2003 civil war.
In a public ruling, the council confirmed preliminary results which gave Gbagbo around 38 percent of the vote, followed by Alassane Ouattara, who took 32 percent. A second round is needed because no candidate won an absolute majority.
Council president Paul Yao N'Dre also named Nov. 21 as the date for the decisive second round between Gbagbo and Ouattara -- a week earlier than initially had been scheduled.
"The tallies of individual polling stations do not show any irregularity which could undermine the credibility of the vote and affect the results overall," N'Dre said.
The election, which has been delayed six times, is meant to reunite the once prosperous nation and world's top cocoa grower that was split in two by the war, leaving the north in the hands of rebels.
Most observers judged the first round to be broadly free and fair. But the RHDP opposition coalition -- which includes Ouattara's party -- said earlier on Saturday it would lodge a file of complaints with the constitutional council.
RHDP spokesman Djedje Mady told reporters the alleged irregularities included falsified records of tallies from polling stations, counting errors and the exclusion of results from whole constituencies.
The RHDP challenge followed an earlier challenge by third-placed Henri Konan Bedie, also a member of the RHDP, who got 25 percent of the vote.