Côte d’Ivoire: UN envoy stresses role of electoral observers in presidential poll

12 October 2010
Choi Young-Jin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire

The head of the United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire today urged the international community to deploy enough election observers to monitor the West African country’s presidential election on 31 October to enhance the credibility of the poll results.

Speaking at a seminar for international election observers and members of the diplomatic corps, Y. J. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the mission, known as UNOCI, said more observers working together will be able to cover larger geographical areas to effectively monitor the long-awaited poll.

He outlined to the participants of the two-day seminar what UNOCI had been able to accomplish in support of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

“All ballot papers have been transported to the interior of the country, as well as heavy electoral materials such as ballot boxes and polling booths,” Mr. Choi said. “All the materials are being transported in time.”

The Chairman of the IEC, Youssouf Bakayoko, said the seminar had given him the opportunity to explain the operational aspects of the election.

“This seminar is a forum for the IEC, UNOCI and the diplomatic missions to exchange ideas on all questions pertaining to the legal, material and logistical organization of the election,” said Mr. Bakayoko. He described the national and international observers as “sentinels” of the integrity and transparency of the election.

The elections were supposed to have been held as far back as 2005, but have been repeatedly postponed, most recently from March this year.

Civil war broke out in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 splitting the country into a rebel-held north and a Government-controlled south.

The UN mission has been providing logistical and technical assistance for the preparations for the presidential polls. Established in 2004, it is also tasked with facilitating other aspects of the peace process, including those related to disarmament and the reunification of the country.


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