Bedie takes lead in partial results of Cote d'Ivoire presidential election

19:23, November 03, 2010      

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Cote d'Ivoire's former president Henri Honan Bedie took the lead in five out of the West African country's 19 regions in Sunday's presidential election, according to partial results released late Tuesday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said Bedie garnered more than 42 percent of the vote counted, ahead of 31 percent for outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo and 24 percent of former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

The three men are the major contenders out of the 14 candidates in the country's historic vote, which has been postponed six times since it was due in 2005.

Vote counting continues until the publication of the provisional results on Wednesday. A run-off is planned for Nov. 28 in case of no outright win in the first round.

CENI expected 5.7 million voters to go to the polls on Sunday. More than 1 million votes have been counted.

Cote d'Ivoire became independent from France on Aug. 7 1960. The country was headed by Felix Houphout-Boigny ever since until 1993. It suffered two military coups and a civil war afterwards.

In March 2007, Gbagbo and ex-rebel leader Guillaume Soro signed a peace accord in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, under which Soro was named prime minister and both sides agreed to hold presidential elections to end the long-standing crisis.

With the political development, the UN Security Council in July extended the mandate of the 9,000-strong United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces in the country to guarantee security. The mission is prolonged until the end of this year.

Cote d'Ivoire has an area of 322,462 sq. km and a population of 18.9 million. Yamoussoukro is the political capital and Abidjan the economic capital of the country, which borders Liberia, Guinea, Mali,Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.

Source: Xinhua


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