Ivorian process of identifying voters has been positive so far, says UN official

18 December 2007

Côte d’Ivoire’s mobile court hearings, used as part of the process of identifying voters ahead of planned national elections next year, have been generally positive since they resumed in September, the senior electoral official from the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country said today.

Ahmedou El Becaye Seck, Chief of the Electoral Assistance Division of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), told reporters at a press conference in Abidjan that nearly 1,300 hearings had been held so far and the number of substitute birth certificates granted had far exceeded the number in previous operations.

Another 30 new teams have been added to help with the process, while the National Committee for the Supervision of Identification, known by its French acronym CNSI, will also be reinforced.

Identification of voters – including millions of undocumented Ivorians and foreign-born residents – has been a key issue in the West African country that became divided in 2002 between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north. Free and fair presidential elections are due next year, as part of a peace accord between the Government and the rebels that was signed earlier this year in Ouagadougou, capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso.

Mr. Seck also said that very few incidents had been recorded during the current mobile court operation, in contrast to the previous operation from July to September last year.

“Our teams on the ground have counted just 11 isolated incidents… they had no negative effect on the ongoing process,” he said, adding this was a sign that the mobile court process had matured and Ivorians had a more consensual attitude towards it.

The only downside, Mr. Seck noted, was that the opening hours for the courts were not always being respected.

 

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