Cote d'Ivoire: ECOWAS thumbs up Ivorian presidential election

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - Sunday's presidential election in Cote d'Ivoire was ''free, transparent and organized in an acceptable manner'', according to the ECOWAS election observation mission for the poll.

In a preliminary statement issued by the mission, headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo late Monday, the mission said it did not observe any major irregularities which may affect the integrity of the electoral process, except for some shortcomings recorded here and there.

The shortcomings were caused, among other things, by late start of voting due to lack of electoral material, absence of chairs and electoral officials at polling stations as well as low presence of representatives of certain candidates.

The mission also noted difficulties encountered by electoral officers in the use of biometric card readers and the non-recognition of voters’ fingerprints by card readers.

This notwithstanding, the mission said the situation improved towards the end of voting, mainly because of reversal to the use of manual register.  

The mission further welcomed  the transparency and consensus observed during counting, collation and announcement of partial results at polling stations, in the presence of representatives of candidates, electoral observers and the general public.

It recalled the importance of the election for the consolidation of democratic governance in Côte d'Ivoire as well as for national reconciliation and unity.

The mission called on all Ivorians, political parties and their supporters to refrain from any act of violence, intimidation or provocation during this crucial phase in the consolidation of peace and democracy in the country, and urged candidates to resort exclusively to legal channels for the settlement of any dispute arising from the election.

Over six million Ivorians registered to vote at the polls Sunday, with the turnout put at over 60 per cent, a figure disputed by the opposition which had called for a boycott.

The election is believed to be an important test for the West African country, following the post-election violence that left at least 3,000 people dead five years ago.

The electoral body is expected to announce the first results Tuesday (27Oct), with incumbent President Alassane Ouattara widely seen as a strong contender.
-0- PANA SEG/AR 27Oct2015

27 Outubro 2015 14:43:44

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