COTE D'IVOIRE: Security Council warns against election delays
DAKAR, 3 August 2009 (IRIN) - In extending the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire on 30 July the Security Council warned progress toward long overdue elections would be for nought if political leaders fail to honour the peace process.
Security Council members meeting on the issue said: “Putting off an end to the crisis was dangerous for both Côte d’Ivoire and the region,” according to a 30 July UN statement.
Citing ongoing delays as “too long” the Security Council said in its resolution extending the $500-million a year UN mission (UNOCI): “Any postponement of the presidential elections of 29 November 2009 would be inconsistent with a credible process” and with a Security Council-endorsed peace pact.
In a 2 July report
the International Crisis Group said the accord, signed in March 2007, is “in deep trouble”, the November date uncertain.
The process of finalizing electoral lists has proven immense; an identification and registration process planned as taking about six weeks took nine months, the UN says.
In his most recent progress report on Côte d’Ivoire, 7 July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the independent electoral commission “is likely to continue to face major logistical and operational challenges in implementing the next stages in the electoral process.”
He said moving forward requires that 68 departmental centres be fully functioning; as of 1 July only 18 were.
In a 26 July statement the electoral commission (CEI) said that it began processing data from the identification and registration on 20 July and the exercise is widening progressively through the rest of the country. CEI said it is scrupulously sticking to the electoral timeline and urged all parties to the peace accord “to play their role fully so that the chronogram will not be held up.”
The UN Security Council in its 30 July resolution said it would review progress toward elections by 15 October.
Ivorians are gauging progress daily and many are worried
, Essoh Joma Serges, president of a youth movement in Côte d’Ivoire (MJCCI), told IRIN from the commercial capital Abidjan.
“We absolutely cannot continue in this mess,” he said. ”The Ivorian people know that yet another postponement would prolong our misery. Investors are staying away because of the continued uncertainty; all resources are going toward this process of organizing elections. All this feeds unemployment and poverty. As I am talking to you right now there are Ivoirians who barely eat one meal a day.”