The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire has deplored recent violence in the towns of Katiola and Divo and appealed for calm as the voter registration appeals process for the upcoming elections takes place.
The appeals process is currently underway in preparation for the publication of the final voters list, a vital step in the process towards the holding of the West African nation’s long-delayed presidential polls.
The UN mission, known as UNOCI, “encourages all the parties to work to resolve the issues while respecting their respective prerogatives,” spokesman Hamadoun Touré told reporters in Abidjan yesterday.
Mr. Touré appealed to everyone to exercise self-control to preserve and consolidate the “remarkable” achievements made in the electoral process, according to a news release issued by UNOCI.
Originally intended to be held as far back as 2005, the polls have been repeatedly postponed. Last scheduled for November 2009, they are now slated for March.
As part of its continued support for the electoral process, the mission has recently provided generators and fuel to monitoring committees, which will allow them to continue their work without being affected by power cuts.
In addition, it will hold the next round of “UNOCI days” from 10 to 12 February in Bocanda – which will include free medical consultations, workshops, and sports and cultural activities – as part of its efforts to inform the local population about the holding of peaceful elections.
Mr. Touré noted that, while it is not UNOCI’s responsibility to decide on an election date, there are risks of further delays. “Taking into account all the remaining phases, simple mathematics shows that time is not on our side,” he said.
Last week the Security Council extended UNOCI’s mandate through 31 May, and the French forces supporting it, to help Côte d’Ivoire stage free, fair and transparent elections, a crucial benchmark for the country, which was split into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south by civil war in 2002.