- Title: IVORY COAST: POLITICS - New government ordered
- Date: 14th February 2010
- Summary: ABIDJAN,IVORY-COAST (FEBRUARY 12, 2010) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (French) IVORY-COAST PRESIDENT LAURENT GBAGBO ADRESSING TO NATION ON TV (SHOT ON TV SCREEN) SAYING: "The government is dissolved. Today I asked that Prime Minister Guillaume Soro re-form a new government by February 15."
- Embargoed: 1st March 2010 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA78R0ADVL1WJK7730EPONYFTB4
- Story Text: President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast has dissolved the government after a dispute over voter registration that threatens to derail his nation's fragile peace process.
In a message to the nation on the country's state-run RTl television channel he said he'd asked Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to form a new government by Monday (February 15).
The statement followed a decision by Soro, a former rebel, this week to suspend the process of registering voters indefinitely because of rising tensions, casting doubt on when the long-delayed presidential election would take place.
The elections are badly needed to end years of instability and stalemate after a 2002-2003 war that divided the world's top cocoa grower in two, leaving the north in rebel hands.
Gbagbo also dissolved the electoral commission, although under a peace agreement signed in Burkina Faso in 2007 he doesn't have the authority to do so.
The commission's supposed to be independent of him.
Opposition parties condemned the move and threatened to pull out of the next government when it is formed.
Many Ivorians have grown cynical over talk about elections after years of delays. Frustration is growing.
Abidjan citizen Fofana El Hadj said the president was wrong to make a unilateral decision.
He described his speech as "not a credit to the country," and suggested it would only weaken the situation.
Engineer Beranger Adoube applauded the president's decision, saying it had to be made to find a way out of what had become for a long time a "deadlock situation."
He hoped it would allow Ivory Coast to take a significant step forward.
Elections in West Africa's once prosperous economic powerhouse have been repeatedly postponed since 2005. They had been scheduled for the end of this month or early next.
Gbagbo has accused electoral commission boss Robert Mambe, an opposition party member, of attempting to add to the voter register 429,000 names which had not had their Ivorian identity cross-checked, in an attempt to boost the opposition vote The process of registering voters has been tortuous and fraught with disputes over Ivorian identity and who can vote -- explosive issues in a country that went to war over them.
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