Ivory Coast poll a concern – UN Security Council

Source: Reuters

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council expressed concern on Tuesday that plans for a Nov. 29 Ivory Coast presidential poll could be at risk if the world’s top cocoa grower further delays the publication of voter lists. Ivory Coast’s election commission recently confirmed that it had missed a deadline to publish provisional voter lists. The publication of the lists, initially delayed in August, is a crucial step toward holding the poll aimed at ending a seven-year crisis, during which rebels have controlled the north and the country’s economy has stagnated. “The Security Council expresses its concerns at the delay in publication of provisional voters list, and highlights that further delays … may put at risk the timeline for open, free, fair and transparent presidential elections,” the council said in a statement. “The Security Council will review the situation by 15 October,” it said. “It expresses its intention to react as appropriate, consistent with its resolution … towards those who would block the progress of the electoral process.” There are about 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, which was split by a 2002-2003 civil war. Reunification and fair polls are seen as vital for encouraging investment in a country that was a major regional economic hub until the war wrecked its reputation for stability. While the conflict has died down, the polls have been repeatedly delayed since 2005 amid tortuous peace negotiations. Analysts say Ivory Coast needs to hold a successful poll to reclaim its spot as one of West Africa’s most vibrant economies and stable nations. Many of the reforms needed to improve the cocoa sector also hinge on the vote, they say. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols)
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