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Côte d'Ivoire / UNOCI chief and IEC Chairman discuss challenges in electoral process

By Mission of UN in Côte d'Ivoire
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ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, November 16, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A day after handing over an important consignment of electoral material to the Independent Electoral Commission, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders went to the headquarters of the institution in charge of organising elections to discuss the remaining challenges in the electoral process with its chairman Youssouf Bakayoko.

“We discussed what we had to do to ensure the smooth holding of the elections,” Mr. Koenders told journalists at the end of the meeting. “I have had discussions with leaders of political parties, namely the PDCI, FPI, and CNRD and I will soon be meeting certain politicians whom I have not yet had the opportunity to meet,” added the chief of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). “All these discussions give me an idea of what they are expecting from these elections,” said Mr. Koenders, adding that in this regard, it was important for him to meet with the chairman of the IEC “to see if everything is going well and if there is anything that can be improved”.

“As certifier of the elections, I look closely at everything that is happening before, during and after the polls,” said the Special Representative. The head of UNOCI said that the discussions with Mr. Bakayoko focused on the procedures before the elections, adding that this had to be done in a political context in which everyone wants the country to progress towards democracy.

Returning to the challenges which remain, Mr. Koenders highlighted logistics and security. “It is important that all Ivorians in whichever region they will be voting feel they are included and that there is maximum security. People must feel that they are voting in fair and transparent elections,” insisted Mr. Koenders. “But this has to be done by including all Ivorians in the organization of the polls up until polling day,” said the Special Representative.

Referring to the National Day of Peace celebrated on 15 November 2011 in Côte d'Ivoire every year, Mr. Koenders said it should be an opportunity for Ivorians to turn a page and reconcile. “This day should be a day of reflection in this country, thinking about those who have suffered and an occasion to reflect on the possibility of opening a new Côte d'Ivoire, economically strong, culturally diverse and prosperous, » concluded the chief of UNOCI.