- Title: IVORY COAST: New electoral commission announced, paving way for end of violence
- Date: 27th February 2010
- Summary: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (FEBRUARY 26, 2010) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CEI WITH JOURNALISTS IN FRONT VARIOUS WIDE OF MEETING OF CEI MEMBERS, WITH VOTING URN IN THE MIDDLE (SOUNDBITE) (French) MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY PDCI (DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF IVORY COAST), YOUSSOUF BAKAYOKO, SAYING: "We are going to work so that we can bring as soon as possible to each and every one the results of our work. The results will be to organise a fair election, transparent, and in which the result will be accepted by everyone." MORE OF INSIDE OF MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (French) MEMBER OF THE RULING PARTY FPI, SOKURI BOYUI, SAYING: "When minister Yousouf Bakayoko was suggested to us (for CEI president), we accepted him immediately because despite the fact that he is from the PDCI (opposition), he is however a republican. He's a man who works for the entire Ivory Coast, unlike other ministers from the opposition party who are in the government but work against it." BAKAYOKO LEAVING MEETING ROOM ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (FEBRUARY 25, 2010) (REUTERS) ***SOME FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT MEMBERS ENTERING ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT, PAUL ANDRE YAO, SAYING: "When we say your name, each one of you should raise your right hand and say "I swear." VARIOUS OF CEREMONY (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT, PAUL ANDRE YAO, SAYING: "For the Constitutional Council, the winner will be the the one chosen by everyone, and we hope the one who loses will come and embrace the winner saying "Ivory Coast is our common patrimony." VARIOUS OF INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION (CEI) MEMBER READING DOCUMENTS CLOSE UP ON DOCUMENT HEADLINE, IN FRENCH, READING: "ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION, CEI" JOURNALISTS FILMING
- Embargoed: 14th March 2010 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1F6UMGN4ID7REWFTQXDFFOGYA
- Story Text: Ivory Coast announced the formation of a new electoral commission on Friday (February 26), a key step towards resolving a political crisis in the top cocoa producer that provoked days of violent street demonstrations.
The new commission told a news conference its president would be Youssouf Bakayoko, a member of the PDCI opposition group.
"We are going to work so that we can bring as soon as possible to each and every one the results of our work. The results will be to organise a fair election, transparent, and in which the result will be accepted by everyone," Bakayoko told reporters gathered outside the Independent Electoral Commission building.
The opposition had vowed to continue protests against President Laurent Gbagbo until he reinstates the electoral commission that he dissolved, along with the government, nearly two weeks ago.
Gbagbo disbanded them on February 12, after accusing former electoral commission chief Robert Mambe of illegally adding names to the voter register to boost the opposition.
That decision has delayed a poll that was already years overdue when scheduled for March, sparking a public outcry that led to bloody street protests.
Soro, a former rebel during the 2002-3 civil war, announced a new government on Tuesday night, with places for both opposition parties, after a compromise was reached, mediated by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.
The number of ministries has been cut to 27 from 32, with the opposition getting a similar proportion to before.
Only 16 of the ministers were named, most of them retaking their old jobs, as the opposition did not put forward names.
Some members of the ruling party are happy with the choice for CEI president.
"We accepted him immediately because despite the fact that he is from the PDCI (opposition), he is however a republican. He's a man who works for the entire Ivory Coast," said Sokuri Boyui, a ruling party member.
The main opposition coalition had said it would only join the newly formed government once the electoral commission was re-established, so the announcement paves the way for them to rejoin the transitional government.
Getting the electoral commission back on track is seen as far more important than the government, which has in any case been transitional since its mandate expired in 2005.
The process was long and hard, with both sides spending most of Thursday (February 25) locked in negotiations for the CEI president.
The President of the Constitutional Court pleaded with the members charged with the vote of the CEI president to be mindful of the interests of the entire country.
"For the Constitutional Council, the winner will be the the one chosen by everyone, and we hope the one who loses will come and embrace the winner saying "Ivory Coast is our common patrimony," said Paul Andre Yao, the President of the Constitutional Court.
Elections are seen as the only way of restoring legitimacy to the government and ending the crisis in Ivory Coast, which has persisted since a 2002-03 civil war split it in two.
Public anger is raging after years of delays. The military has opened fire on protesters, killing some. Cocoa output, however, has been largely unaffected.
Once the commission is in place, it still has to finish the laborious job of drawing up a final voter list, first by dealing with all the contested names on the provisional list.
Some 6 million voters registered for the poll, but around a million were contested on grounds of nationality, a divisive issue that started the civil war in the first place.
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