The identification and voter registration process for the upcoming elections in Côte d’Ivoire has encountered some difficulties, including strikes in some parts of the country, the United Nations mission there reported.
Hamadoun Touré, spokesperson for the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), added that only 17 of the 68 coordination centres in the interior of the West African nation were presently working.
Nevertheless, the mission is encouraged by the fact that the processing of data collected in the identification and registration exercise has begun, he told a news conference in Abidjan yesterday.
He said UNOCI would like to see the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the national authorities overcome the current difficulties as they forge ahead with preparations for the long-awaited presidential polls, which were to have been held as far back as 2005 but are now scheduled for 29 November.
UNOCI urges them to “find a quick solution to the situation in order to safeguard the integrity of the electoral timetable and preserve the hope which stemmed from its publication with the different stages that should lead to presidential election on 29 November,” said Mr. Touré.
He added that the mission was doing everything possible to ensure that the date for the election is respected, and described the present political climate as encouraging, especially after the recent publication of the electoral timetable.
“We have to see that this climate is consolidated and above all that social difficulties do not turn into more obstacles which will simply add to the technical difficulties which are being resolved progressively,” he stated.
UNOCI, which is headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Y. J. Choi, has been providing technical and logistical support for preparations for the elections, including for voter identification and registration.
Over 6 million voters have been registered so far, or about 70 per cent of the eligible voters in the country, which became divided in 2002 between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.
Last week, Mr. Choi told the Security Council that bureaucratic complications involved in planning and running the polls “are not to be underestimated,” noting that the identification and registration process, which was expected to wrap up in six weeks, took more than nine months.
The Council yesterday extended UNOCI’s mandate by another six months, until 31 January 2010, expressing its support for the November polls.