Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cote d'Ivoire Presidential Election Marks Historic Milestone in Peace Process

 The Oct. 31 presidential election in Cote d'Ivoire was conducted in a calm environment with a high-level of voter participation. These elections marked a crucial step in Cote d'Ivoire's peace process and gave voters the opportunity to elect their next president in the country's first truly open contest.  The Ivoirian people have exercised their right to vote; they also have the right to have their vote accurately recorded and ultimately respected by all candidates.


The election process was initially marked by a number of planning and operational challenges for the Independent Election Commission (IEC), most notably as they related to the timely distribution of voter cards, the delivery of essential election materials throughout the country, poll worker training, and the effective distribution of voter information regarding election day procedures.


The international community has strongly supported the Ivoirian electoral process with a range of deep investments in the provision of security, as well as diplomatic, financial, logistical, and technical assistance.  Presidential candidates and their supporters, the IEC, and Ivoirian civil society organizations cooperated at many levels in the face of a long-standing political crisis in the effort to ensure a credible, transparent, and peaceful election process.


As the counting process and proclamation of results are awaited, The Carter Center urges all candidates to adhere to their commitment to a peaceful transition of power, including utilizing appropriate legal challenges for the filing of complaints as necessary. The IEC and the Constitutional Council must recall their commitment to ensuring transparency throughout the process of proclamation and dispute resolution.  In the meantime, all presidential candidates and their supporters must exercise patience and respect for the credible election results.


Key Carter Center recommendations include:

·      In the event of a runoff election, IEC provision of a clear and detailed electoral calendar to ensure transparency in all steps of election administration;

·      Sustained commitment to the Code of Conduct by presidential candidates and their supporters;

·      Continued presence and non-interference of security forces to support a peaceful election environment;

·      Retention of good poll workers and strengthened  training;

·      IEC cooperation with political parties and civil society organizations to provide more visible voter education materials; and

·      Timely distribution of accreditation for domestic and international election observers.

The Carter Center will continue to observe the completion of the tabulation and official results process as well as any electoral disputes that may arise.  Should there be a second round of elections, the Center urges the final contestants to remain committed to a peaceful and inclusive process, including through debate of their differences in an open forum accessible to all Ivoirians.


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