The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the announcement by Côte d’Ivoire’s electoral authorities of the provisional results of Sunday’s presidential run-off, while urging calm amid reported violence in the West African nation.
According to press reports, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) today declared former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara the winner of the elections in which he ran against incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.
The announcement of the provisional results is “a crucial step for ensuring the validity and integrity of the electoral process and thereby an important element in the process of certification of the final results by the Special Representative,” Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States, which holds the Council’s presidency for December, said a statement read out to the press.
“The Secretary-General calls upon the Constitutional Council to expeditiously initiate the process of proclamation of the final results, respecting the will of the people of Côte d'Ivoire, so that his Special Representative can certify those results, in keeping with his mandate,” said a statement issued by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
The Council’s statement followed a closed-door meeting of the Council in which members were briefed on the latest developments via videolink by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Y. J. Choi. The 15-member body took note of Mr. Choi’s assessment that the run-off was conducted in a “democratic climate.”
The Council also reminded the leaders that they bear primary responsibility for ensuring a peaceful process and called on them to “exercise restraint, refrain from any interference in the work of the IEC, and honour their commitments to respect the results, address their complaints through the legal procedures and resolve their differences peacefully.
“They further urged the supporters of the candidates to refrain from any provocation or recourse to violence throughout the electoral process.”
Mr. Ban said stressed that all parties and leaders would bear the responsibility for any violent actions of their supporters.
He also reassured the people of Côte d'Ivoire that the UN operation in the country, known as UNOCI, “will undertake all possible actions, within its mandate, to help keep the electoral process on track, to preserve peace and security in the country and to support their efforts to successfully conclude the peace process.”
The Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, meanwhile encouraged authorities in Côte d’Ivoire to investigate “criminal incidents” that had occurred and take measures to prevent others from happening.
“All reported acts of violence will be closely scrutinized by the Office [of the Prosecutor],” Ms. Bensouda said in a statement.
She said that the Office of the Prosecutor has been monitoring the situation in the country before the presidential run-off and will continue to do so and urged supporters of both candidates and security forces to refrain from violence.
“I encourage the political leaders to call on their supporters and fellow citizens to show restraint and avoid unrest,” she said.
Yesterday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned all sides not to interfere with the work of the IEC, and requested them to demonstrate responsibility and to refrain from any initiative until the announcement of the provisional results.
His call followed media reports that a supporter of Mr. Gbagbo had torn up the first announcements of partial results, and that journalists were barred from entering the IEC.
The West African country, the world’s largest cocoa exporter, was split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north, and UNOCI, with a current strength of over 9,000 uniformed personnel, has been supporting reunification efforts, of which Sunday’s vote was a principal step.