Poll dispute exposes Ivorian identity tensions

Published: 14/Jan/2010
Source: Reuters Alertnet

A row over Ivory Coast’s voter register has thrust the issue of Ivorian nationality to the fore, exposing festering disputes that still fuel tensions years after they first tipped the country into war.

President Laurent Gbagbo’s ruling party this week called on the head of the electoral commission to resign, accusing him of rubber-stamping a voter list for the presidential election that could include hundreds of thousands of non-Ivorians.

“They’ve put foreigners on the list,” 33-year-old Zakary Dijbeu of the pro-Gbagbo “Young Patriots” movement said at a rally this week to protest against the move.

“That’s not right — it’s fraud. We’ll take to the streets. People think the Ivorian patriots are finished. That’s their mistake,” he warned.

Gbagbo’s accusations sparked a row that could further delay a presidential poll now due around late-February. The election is meant to reunite the world’s top cocoa grower after a 2002-3 civil war, but has been repeatedly postponed since 2005.

Read more on Reliefweb.

Themes: Nationality and Elections, Voter Registration
Regions: Côte d'Ivoire
Year: 2010