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Ivory Coast sets December date for legislative elections

Ivory Coast will hold a parliamentary election on December 11, the first poll since a civil war sparked by a disputed presidential vote ended in April this year.

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AFP - Ivory Coast will go to the polls on December 11, the government said Wednesday as it prepared to launch a commission aimed at reconciling a nation emerging from a deadly political crisis.

The December 11 date became official after Ivory Coast's cabinet approved a proposal from the country's Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), government spokesman Bruno Kone told journalists.

Prime Minister Guillaume Soro had promised earlier this month that legislative elections would be held by December 15.

President Alassane Ouattara has vowed to unite the country after a deadly five-month political standoff that was sparked by former president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat after a November vote.

The polls are seen as crucial to repairing Ivory Coast's still bitter political divides, but Gbagbo's party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), last week pulled out of the election panel, slamming its composition as pro-Ouattara.

The FPI has also threatened to boycott the elections unless Gbagbo is released from a house arrest imposed after he was prised from power and arrested in April by pro-Ouattara forces.

Ouattara "was the first to regret the decision taken by the FPI (and) wishes that all political factions in Ivory Coast participate in these elections," Kone said.

Ouattara was on Wednesday also expected to launch the Commission on Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation (CDVR), with a mandate to help the country heal following the post-election crisis that left some 3,000 dead.

The 11-member commission, set to launch in the capital Yamoussoukro, will include one Christian and one Muslim religious leader and five representatives of the country's major regions.

Ouattara is a Muslim, while Gbagbo and his wife Simone identified with Ivory Coast's growing evangelical Christian community.

The commission with a two-year mandate must work to "bring the country as quickly as possible to normality" and "rebuild the social fabric" of the once regional powerhouse, the government has said.

 

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