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Côte d’Ivoire: UN envoy certifies results of first round of presidential poll

The United Nations envoy to Côte d’Ivoire today certified the results of the first round of the presidential election in the West African country, paving the way for the run-off on 28 November between the two candidates who garnered the highest number of votes.

Y. J. Choi said the electoral process during the first round held on 31 October was “peaceful and democratic, and that the results of the elections were determined through fair and transparent process.”

The “anomalies, irregularities and errors” brought to his attention were “of such minor nature as to affect in no significant way the overall results of the elections,” he added in a statement made in Abidjan.

The two candidates in the forthcoming run-off are incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara.

The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005, were repeatedly postponed. They are a major step in restoring stability in the country, which was split by civil war into a Government-held south and rebel Forces Nouvelles-controlled north in 2002.

An additional 500 troops were sent to the country to reinforce the 8,650-strong UN peacekeeping force (UNOCI) and assist with security during the election period.

Mr. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI, noted that polling day during the first round was “marked as much by enthusiasm of the population as by the respect for human rights and democratic principles.”

He called on all stakeholders to remain committed to the holding of an open, free, fair and transparent second round of the presidential elections, in order to bring the Ivorian crisis closer to a conclusion.

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