Serious challenges remain for Ivory Coast poll: U.N.
Ivory Coast has made progress in preparing for a long-delayed presidential election on November 29, but serious challenges must be overcome if the poll is to happen on time, a senior U.N. envoy said on Thursday, Reuters reported.
"Unmistakable worrying signs for probable delays notwithstanding, solid and significant achievements have been made in the Ivorian electoral process," U.N. special envoy to Ivory Coast Young-Jin Choi told the Security Council.
He said the biggest achievement was that the country's voter identification and registration process had succeeded in positively identifying some 6.5 million people in the world's biggest cocoa producer. The voter registration process ended on June 20.
The West African country was divided by a brief civil war in 2002-2003. Some U.N. diplomats, as well as many Ivorians, suspect the vote could be postponed again as all sides have profited from the status quo.
Earlier this year, rebels controlling the northern part of Ivory Coast since 2002 officially handed over to civilian administrators in a step aimed at restoring central government authority across the entire country.
Reunification and fair elections are regarded as vital for encouraging investment in Ivory Coast, which was an important regional economic hub until the war wrecked its reputation for stability.
The polls are also a necessary precursor for reforms of the cocoa sector, which provides 40 percent of global supply but is struggling with aging plantations, discouraged farmers and allegations of corrupt administration.