Cote d'Ivoire president, UN mission chief discuss electoral process

19:07, November 26, 2009      

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Cote d'Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo held discussions on Wednesday with the special representative of the United Nations secretary general to the country, Choi Joung-jin,on the electoral process in the run-up to the long-awaited polls.

The talks were notable three days after the start of the voter list check to make sure no problems remain before the presidential elections, which have been repeatedly delayed.

"We have had very good discussions," Choi declared after the meeting, coming to the conclusion that "there is a very solid basis to believe that the electoral list is balanced and solid."

The provisional electoral list published since Sunday has 5.3 million voters and slightly more than one million people whose status needs verification.

"We have already identified 83 percent of the people. That is good progress since a figure of 2000 lists has about 3.5 million people," explained the head of United Nations Operations in Cote d'lvoire (ONUCI), who thought this speed "to be reliable in getting a solid final electoral list."

Choi, however, pointed out that there are "two challenges to overcome," the technical delays and security for the process.

"We might have some delays because of technical reasons which we must minimize since we have a precious window of opportunity," Choi indicated, holding optimism that "there is a strong electoral dynamism and political willingness."

On the issue of security, Choi noted that "there are good prospects."

"There is no trouble, there is free movement in the north and south and the pre-campaigns are going on very well all over the country," he added.

The resolving of contentious issues will lead to the publication of the final electoral list and the distribution of voter cards before the official launch of campaigns for the election, which is expected to end seven years of a political crisis.

The West African country has yet to reunify the government-controlled south and the north held by the former rebel New Forces, whose leader serves as the prime minister in the government under a peace deal brokered by Burkina Faso. The division remains since the 2002-2003 civil war unleashed by an attempted coup.

Source: Xinhua
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