Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended the people of the Côte d’Ivoire for the peaceful conduct of yesterday’s historic elections, as he reaffirmed the United Nations’ continued commitment to assisting the West African country emerge from its devastating civil conflict.
“This election is an important milestone in the efforts to restore lasting peace in the country,” according to a statement released by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, following the presidential election held yesterday, which was originally scheduled for as far back as 2005 and repeatedly postponed.
The Secretary-General called on all parties and candidates to help maintain a calm environment and urged them to accept the proclaimed and certified results, filing any complaints through the legally-established mechanisms.
He also pledged the United Nations continued support for the peace process in the country, which was split by civil war into a Government-held south and rebel Forces Nouvelles-controlled north in 2002. “The United Nations remains deeply committed to support the Ivorian peace process,” he said
The Secretary-General also credited the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission and the national and international partners that contributed to for the organization and conduct of this election for yesterday’s smooth polling.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Y. J. Choi, will continue, in the context of his certification mandate, all efforts to safeguard the process through the counting and certification phases, according to the statement.
An additional 500 troops are in the country to reinforce the 8,650-strong UN peacekeeping force (UNOCI), and assist with security during the election period. A second round of voting is scheduled for 28 November if the 31 October poll does not produce a clear winner.