- Title: IVORY COAST: Historic vote begins
- Date: 1st November 2010
- Summary: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (OCTOBER 31, 2010) (REUTERS) PEOPLE QUEUING OUTSIDE LYCEE TECHNIQUE VOTING AGENT GUIDING PEOPLE PEOPLE WALKING ON STREET ARRIVING AT POLLING STATION PEOPLE QUEUING, CROWD WAITING OUTSIDE POLLING STATION (SOUNBDITE) (French) KWASI CEDRIC KWAME, VOTER, SAYING: "Yes it's a historic moment, we have been waiting for this for a long time, and thank God the moment has arrived. No matter how long it takes, we will wait here to be able to vote." Reporter asking: How do you think voting will go? "Yes, it will all go all right because I already see people are queuing in an orderly fashion and people are happy, smiling. Everything will go all right." ELECTORAL AGENTS OUTSIDE TECHNICAL SCHOOL BEING BRIEFED BY A COLLEAGUE (SOUNDBITE) (French) GEDE BREDGI, VOTER, SAYING: "After 8 years of waiting, I think today it's happening. Everybody is ready to go to elections and I think it will all go ok." Reporter asks: are you worried about the results, if they will be accepted or not? "No, the results will be accepted, anyway we are forced to accept the results because that's what a democracy is." CROWDS WAITING OUTSIDE POLLING STATION PEOPLE WAITING WITH POLICEMAN IN FOREGROUND PEOPLE WALKING TOWARDS POLLING STATION RIVIERA GOLF PRIMARY SCHOOL POLLING STATION, ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (OCTOBER 31, 2010) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS OBSERVERS AT POLLING STATION WHERE INCUMBENT PRESIDENT LAURENT GBAGBO WILL VOTE CROWDS WAITING OUTSIDE POLLING STATION POLLING AGENTS CARRYING ELECTORAL BOXES AND EQUIPMENT WALKING POLLING AGENT INSTALLING THE BALLOT BOXES VOTING BULLETINS BEING SET UP PEOPLE QUEUING TO VOTE ELECTORAL CARD IN SOMEONE'S HAND MORE OF VOTERS QUEUING
- Embargoed: 16th November 2010 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABYG2JP90AR7LB5T3MYZN5P484
- Story Text: Voters queue across Ivory Coast to partake in historic presidential poll as final preparations are underway at polling station where incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo will vote.
Ivory Coast finally held a long-delayed presidential election on Sunday (October 31) that is meant to reunite a nation split in two by war. It is hoped that the outcome will re-launch West Africa's former star economy.
The polls have been postponed six times in a five year wrangle between political rivals and former rebels. Some 5.7 million people were set to decide who will run the world's top cocoa producer.
While voting had begun in some parts of the country, long queues formed outside a number of polling stations, where election officials were still setting up at the time voting had been due to start at 0700 GMT.
"It's a historic moment, we have been waiting for this for a long time, and thank God the moment has arrived. No matter how long it takes, we will wait here to be able to vote," said Kwasi Cedric Kwame, a queuing voter from Abidjan.
"It will all go all right because I already see people are queuing in an orderly fashion and people are happy, smiling. Everything will go all right," Kwame added.
Organisers raced against time to sort those eligible to vote and manage security alongside distribution of voting cards and training of over 60,000 poll workers.
Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo's main rivals are Henri Konan Bedie, a former president ousted in a 1999 coup, and Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister and IMF official.
Partly owing to the regional and ethnic support bases of the three main candidates, outright victory is unlikely in the first round of voting, a runoff may be held on November 28.
Most analysts following the election in the former French colony make Gbagbo the favourite to win a runoff against his rivals.
Campaigning has largely been peaceful and the rhetoric less heated than anticipated. But there are still fears that the compromises reached to agree on an election date and voting procedures could be tested once results are announced.
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on Saturday (October 30) called on all the candidates to accept the results. At least one voters believe they will be accepted.
"The results will be accepted, anyway we are forced to accept the results because that's what a democracy is," said voter Gede Bredgi.
At the Rivera Gold primary school in Abidjan, where President Laurent Gbagbo was to vote preparations were still underway at 0700 GMT.
Crowds of people waited outside for the polls to open and Gbagbo to arrive.
Polls were to close at 1700 GMT and ballots counted in over 20,000 polling stations across the country to allow for preliminary result announcements within three days.
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