The United Nations envoy in Côte d'Ivoire met today with the country's top election official to discuss challenges ahead of the presidential run-off scheduled for later this month, including security and logistical matters.
The challenges should not be underestimated, said Y. J. Choi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, adding that everyone had agreed on the necessary measures to be taken in order to meet them.
Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara, are the two candidates in the run-off slated for 28 November, which follows the first round of elections held on 31 October.
The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005, were repeatedly postponed. They are a major step in restoring stability in the country, which was split by civil war into a Government-held south and rebel Forces Nouvelles-controlled north in 2002.
Mr. Choi said that discussions with the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Youssouf Bakayoko, focused on safeguarding the second round of the election and making improvements where needed.
He highlighted in particular the need to take an inventory of the electoral materials and, if possible, replace or reinforce them.
“The electoral documents should also be provided on time, the electoral officers who have been working enthusiastically day and night should be paid, and the tally reports should be transported from polling offices to sub-prefecture commissions,” he said.
They also addressed the issue of security arrangements for the elections, said Mr. Choi, who heads the UN peacekeeping force in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).
An additional 500 troops are in the country to reinforce the 8,650-strong UN force and assist with security throughout the election period.