Monday, March 03, 2008

Cote D'ivoire: Polling stations repaired ahead of national presidential elections

The United Nations peacekeeping mission to Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) says it has repaired almost 90 per cent of polling stations across the West African country ahead of national presidential elections planned for later this year.

Electoral experts with the mission have repaired some 9,150 stations out of a total of 10,493, the director of UNOCI’s electoral assistance division, Ahmedou El Becaye Seck, told reporters at a press conference in Abidjan yesterday.

Mr. Seck said mission staff have also helped update the country’s electoral cartography so that local authorities can more easily identify the population and register voters before the polls.

By helping to organize the mobile court hearings across the country, about 400,000 people have received substitute birth certificates, according to the mission.

Identification of eligible Ivorian voters has been a major issue in the nation, which in 2002 became divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north, and led to the deployment of UNOCI to keep the peace.

The Ouagadougou Political Agreement, reached early last year, is designed to end the political stand-off. It calls for the formation of a new transitional government, the holding of free and fair elections, and merging the national defence and security forces with the rebel Forces Nouvelles into an integrated body.

Today, after meeting with Ivorian Justice Minister Mamadou Koné in Abidjan, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Y. J. Choi praised the leadership of Ivorian authorities in the mobile court process and pledged UNOCI’s continuing support.

Source: United Nations News Centre