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[Published: Wednesday September 22 2010]

 Presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire 31 October

The inhabitants of Cote D’Ivoire are bracing themselves for the presidential elections scheduled for 31 October.

Although the country is going through a challenging period, the UN operation there (UNOCI) has recommended an “exception” to the arms embargo placed on the country ahead of the presidential poll.

Côte d'Ivoire has been under embargo since 2004, two years after a foiled coup against President Laurent Gbagbo left the country divided and sometimes in turmoil.

In a report on human rights violations, The UNUCI recommended partially lifting the embargo to equip policemen and gendarmes watching over elections with anti-riot equipment.

UNUCI argues that equipping police with anti-riot gear would prevent security forces from “resorting to firearms and live ammunition to establish order in the event of civil unrest." In February 2010, the country’s security forces violently quelled protests, leaving 11 people dead. The protests were organised by the opposition to denounce the dual dissolution by the President of the government and the Independent Electoral Commission.

"There is no doubt that political parties had a responsibility in these events," said the report urging all the country’s political parties "to install a climate of security for the elections."

Some 8,000 militia drawn from both the loyalist army and opposition troops, the New Forces who control the north of the country, will be tasked to provide security during the presidential election throughout the country.  Ali Bahaijoub

North South News website

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