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Côte d'Ivoire / UNOCI chief discusses by-elections with civil society.

By Mission of UN in Côte d'Ivoire
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ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, February 28, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders, had a working session with Ivorian civil society at the headquarters of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) in Abidjan on Monday 27 February 2012. The meeting focussed on legislative by-elections held in 12 constituencies on Sunday 26 February.

Explaining the reason for the meeting, the UNOCI head said it was important, to ensure a better certification, to listen to all the actors involved in the by-elections. “It was important to talk with civil society because it is an important actor in the country's normalization process,” he said.

While recognising that, globally, the elections were held in a peaceful climate, the Special Representative deplored incidents in which peacekeepers had to retaliate to attacks against a convoy transporting ballot boxes near the locality of Gobazra and against the office of the Independent Electoral Commission in Bonon. In addition to these incidents, on the eve of the by-elections, the president of the youth wing of the Parti démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI – Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire), Kouakou Konan Bertin, was attacked and wounded in Bonon.

Mr. Koenders told civil society that a mission led by UNOCI's Force Commander and Chief of Police had gone to the area to evaluate the situation. “We hope such incidents will not be repeated,” he said.

For his part, Bamba Sindou of the Regroupement des Acteurs Ivoiriens des Droits Humains (RAIDHCI), made a similar observation as the UNOCI head with regard to the conduct of the polls. « Incidents were reported in the Facobly area, in the village of Criao, where six ballot boxes were damaged, » he said.

At the end of the meeting, civil society suggested that UNOCI encourage frank dialogue between the parties. “It's necessary to talk to the candidates for them to realize their role in society,” said Patrick N'Gouan of the Convention de la Société Civile, an umbrella of civil society organisations. ”They give the impression that their sole objective is to be elected come what may.”