Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the announcement by the Government of Côte d'Ivoire of 29 November 2009 as the date for the West African nation's long-awaited presidential election.
“He urges all Ivorian parties to respect this date and to work together to complete the remaining tasks related to the electoral process,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
Last month, Mr. Ban had called for a realistic timetable for the holding of credible and transparent polls, which he said would bring to a successful conclusion the current transitional arrangement in the country, which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and a northern area dominated by the rebel Forces Nouvelles.
“Côte d'Ivoire is now at a stage where only two critical processes need to be completed in order to restore normalcy: reunification and elections,” he wrote in a report covering the activities of the UN mission in the country, known as UNOCI.
The mission has been providing technical and logistical support for preparations for the elections, including in areas such as voter identification and registration. Nearly 6 million voters have been identified so far.
In today's statement, Mr. Ban assured the Ivorian parties that the UN will continue to provide the necessary support to help them organize and conduct free, fair and credible elections, including through the certification mandate of his Special Representative for Côte d'Ivoire, Y. J. Choi.
UNOCI spokesperson Hamadoun Touré told a news conference in Bouaké today that the mission will do everything within its power to ensure that the election date is respected.