Observers agree Ivory Coast holds peaceful election

Observers agree Ivory Coast held peaceful and fair presidential election although opposition criticises turnout figures

Photo by: Getty Images
Photo by: Getty Images

Campaigns have intensified ahead of Sunday's vote

Presidential election in Ivory Coast has been praised by observers as being peaceful and fair though opposition criticises turnout figures as the nation tries to overcome a history of electoral violence.

A reasonable turnout figure is vital for President Alassane Ouattara to claim legitimacy of the election if he wins.

While first estimates from the electoral commission has counted it around 60 percent, a civil society platform has claimed a bit lower, at 53 percent.

But the CNC opposition coalition which represents two presidential candidates, still insist that turnout much more lower than it has claimed by the electoral commission. The CNC coalition has called turnout figures ‘parody’ and ‘unrealistic’ and put the figure at less than 20 percent.

Ouattara spokesman Joel N’Guessan has responded opposition claims and he said, "their behaviour was neither dignified nor responsible".

He said, "There is no way that the provisional or final results... will be called into question in an irresponsible manner or above all without proof."

Observers were expecting lower participation than when Ouattara won the 2010 presidential election, due to some of the opposition calling for a boycott and three leading rivals have been given up to be on candidate list.

Although many polling stations opened late due to materials delayed to arrival and many computer tablets which used to check voter IDs didn't work, no major problems, which could effect the legitimacy of election, have been reported and observes have agreed that the vote went well.

 Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who headed an observer team from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said, "The election will reflect the will of the people of Ivory Coast."

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara gestures during celebrations marking the 55th anniversary of independence from France, in front of the presidential palace in Abidjan, on August 7, 2015

African Union observers agreed that the election has properly gone well.

The former Senegalese premier who headed the AU observer mission, Aminata Toure said, "From what we've seen, I believe we can, without the risk of making a mistake, conclude that it was well organised, that it was transparent."  

Kouadio Konan Bertin, one of the principal opposition candidates, congratulated Ouattara.

He said, "With regard to the results in our possession, it seems clear that candidate Alassane Ouattara is on course to obtain a majority... I would like to offer him my congratulations."

Results of election will be announced expectedly on Thursday.

In 2010 high tension election had been postponed six times and as the former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to deliver presidency to Ouattara who won the election against him, world’s top cocoa producer divided into two following monthly violence lasting a year and leaving 3,000 dead.

As he refused to accept the election results in November 2010, Mr Gbagbo had been arrested by a combination of French, United Nation and pro-Outtara forces in April 2011.

Gbagbo is now in jail, waiting for a judgement next month for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.


TRTWorld and agencies