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Breakthrough Ivorian elections show people’s resolve to end crisis – UN official

Breakthrough Ivorian elections show people’s resolve to end crisis – UN official

Special Envoy Young Jin Choi visits polling station in Atecoube as Ivorians voted on 31 October 2010
The Côte d’Ivoire’s “calm and orderly” presidential vote, avoiding any major human rights violations, showed that the Ivorian people were ready to put an end to the civil crisis that divided the West African nation, a top United Nations official told the Security Council today.

“The Ivorian people rose to the challenge of elections successfully, showing the international community their political maturity and determination to put an end to the crisis,” Y.J. Choi, Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in a briefing to the 15-member body on the 31 October polls.

The long-delayed polls are a key element of 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.

Mr. Choi, speaking via videoconference from the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, said that the turnout was around 80 per cent, making it among the highest in the world for recent national elections. “The population responded massively to the call of the political class to cast their vote,” he said.

He noted that the provisional result of the election was due to be announced later today, with the final result proclaimed by the Constitutional Council by 10 November. Should no candidate receive a majority in the first round, a second round would be held on 28 November.

Following Mr. Choi’s briefing, Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s November presidency, issued a statement to the press commending the country on the vote, urging all stakeholders to continue their commitment to a peaceful and democratic completion of the process.

Council members, he said, stressed the central role of the Independent Electoral Commission in announcing the provisional results of the vote as expeditiously as possible, and welcomed the continued support provided to the Commission by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).