- Pressure is again mounting against President Laurent Gbagbo to finally organise elections in Côte d'Ivoire, which have been delayed time after time since 2005. The north-south division, meanwhile, is being consolidated.
For years, the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African country (UNOCI) has had the organisation of general elections in Côte d'Ivoire as one of its main tasks. International pressure to stop delaying the polls has come and gone, and now only UNOCI periodically is pushing President Gbagbo on the issue.
The UN Representative in Côte d'Ivoire yesterday med with the new President of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in yet another "bid to reenergise a stalled electoral process," further delayed by last month's dissolution of the Ivorian government and deadly street protests.
The meeting comes as UNOCI leader Yj Choi stated the best way to "prevent the electoral dynamic from weakening further" was to re-launch the work of the IEC as soon as possible, and resume the processing of appeals on the provisional electoral list.
Resuming the appeals process was seen as the final step before an electoral list could be created, according to the UN. This, Mr Choi holds, should be followed by the production and distribution of identity and voters' cards.
"Since the beginning of the year, we have lost two months with the political impasse and the delays are accumulating," Mr Choi said in a statement.
Elections in Côte d'Ivoire have been marred by multiple delays since 2005.
The presidential polls are expected to go a long way to ending years of instability and stalemate following a civil war that divided the country into a rebel-held north and government-controlled south in 2002.
Mr Choi addressed the reunification issue, which, according to him, is a process linked to the electoral dynamic. "Now, it is undeniable that the electoral dynamic is linked to reunification," he said.
In recent days, Mr Choi has held multiple talks with the various political parties involved, including President Gbagbo, who dissolved the government and the IEC on 12 February. A statement from UNOCI says that the objective of these intense consultations was to gather information and to revive the electoral process.
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