Côte d’Ivoire’s independent electoral commission today handed over a provisional voters’ list to the top United Nations envoy there, a step forward towards holding the much-delayed presidential poll in the West African country, split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-ruled south and a rebel-controlled north.
But Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Young-Jin Choi warned that important steps remained to be taken and while the elections were now in reach, serious work was needed to overcome the final challenges.
The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005, are now planned for 29 November after repeated postponements, but UN officials have voiced concern at possible further setbacks.
Mr. Choi, who heads the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), called for accelerating the remaining technical steps, such as the printing and distribution of national identity and voter cards.
The Security Council established UNOCI in 2004 to help ensure a ceasefire and pave the way for permanent peace and democratic elections following the civil war. Reauthorized repeatedly since then, most recently until 31 January 2010, it currently comprises nearly 8,400 uniformed personnel, as well as 407 international civilian personnel.