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Côte d'Ivoire elections unfolding in a positive, calm atmosphere – UN envoy

Election materials being delivered by UNOCI
Election materials being delivered by UNOCI

Côte d'Ivoire elections unfolding in a positive, calm atmosphere – UN envoy

Voting for the parliamentary elections in Côte d'Ivoire today is occurring “smoothly in a positive and calm atmosphere,” said the United Nations envoy in the country, who has been touring polling stations in Abidjan.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders visited several neighbourhoods in the early morning in the company of members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of regional and sub-regional institutions, where he chatted with voters, representative of the polling stations and representatives of the candidates, according to a news release issued by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (UNOCI).

“It is very important to see what is happening in polling stations throughout the country,” Mr. Koenders said, adding that a team of 600 people had been deployed throughout the country to monitor the elections.

Mr. Koenders insisted that it was still premature to make an assessment at this stage, but said he was impressed by the work of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), as well as the discreet presence of the security forces.

When asked about the inclusiveness of the polls, Mr. Koenders spotlighted the presence of various political groups. “There are many candidates from different parties and many independent candidates.”

The Chief of the African Union Observer Mission, Seini Oumarou, described the organization of the polls as “impeccable” and expressed his hope for a high turnout.

“[Participation] will not be as high as during the presidential election, but the low turnout which we saw in the beginning is gradually increasing,” he said, welcoming UNOCI's work on the ground. “UNOCI has done an excellent job,” he added.

Parliamentary elections are taking place almost a year after Alassane Ouattara won a disputed presidential run-off election that led to months of deadly violence when the runner-up and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down.

Mr. Gbagbo was later captured by security forces and has since been transported to The Hague in the Netherlands to face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the post-election violence.