- Observers are uncertain about Côte d'Ivoire's elections, scheduled for 30 November given the delay in establishing national identity cards to eligible voters.
Prime Minister spokesman Mr Méité Sindou said two pronouncements have been made between January and April leading to the production of identity cards, but said to date no progress has been done due to financial constraints.
Mr Sindou said government is slow to disburse the money to the private company Sagem Security, producing the cards, saying if the money is not disbursed by end of May, the identification process would be behind schedule.
"In order to make up for the time wasted, Sagem has focused on its own resources to provide information kits for the recruitment of people on the ground for production of identification cards," he said.
He also mentioned that as a build-up towards elections yet another challenge lies ahead, being that of verification of voters' lists by all contesting parties. "Political parties require a period of two months for verification to avoid fraud," he said.
The company in charge for production, Sagem Security, and the National Statistical Institute have signed and submitted a plan for identification of voting population by 31 May this year.
The procedure involves recruitment of people, treatment and production of identity titles, including the national identity card, electoral roll and voter cards. The modus operandi would be sent to government for adoption.
Côte d'Ivoire was characterised as a stable country until a 1999 coup, which has been followed by several waves of political violence and a deep rooted north-south conflict. The country held last successful polls in December 2000, but these were marred by irregularities.
Since 2003, several unstable transitional power-sharing governments have run the country, while President Laurent Gbagbo has maintained most powers. Elections were originally planned for late 2005, but have since been postponed a large number of times, the transitional government prolonging its mandate. Only in April this year, elections were put back from June to the end of November.
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