The worlds most expensive election per voter has been
a long time in coming. Its hard to think of one major
area of economic and political life not struggling because of
the fact that, five years since the elections were due to be
held, Ivorians are still waiting.
The crisis came by the presidential election, and it
needs to leave by the same route, says Francis Wodie,
head of the Ivorian Labour Party.
When it does come, the election promises to be an intriguing
battle, the first between the three major political players on
the Ivorian scene. The two major opposition leaders, Henri
Konan Bedie and Alassane Ouattara, were both excluded from the
previous presidential election in 2000, judged calamitous even
by its winner, current president Laurent Gbagbo.
As Emerging Markets went to press, no new
election date has been agreed. In any case, a new date will be
treated with scepticism by a population that has seen at least
six realistic election dates come and go.
During that time the electoral census has been carried out
across the territory, and the subsequent provisional electoral
roll has been displayed and checked by hundreds of thousands of
Ivorians. But the optimism that elections were imminent at the
beginning of 2010 has given way to disillusionment
symbolically accompanied by months of electricity
Im worried by the blockages at the
moment, International Crisis Groups senior West
Africa analyst, Rinaldo Depagne, tells Emerging
Markets. Im not even sure of an election in
2010 in any case there are no guarantees. With the three
big problems blocking the current process auditing the
electoral roll, renewing the local electoral commissioners and
disarmament even this October would be
How much these three issues are genuine grievances or simply
delaying tactics by the presidential camp depends on which side
you talk to.
Outside the three main parties core supporters, many
people are tired of the delays and failed promises. The major
parties all gain in some way from the extended transition
period; whether the ex-rebels controlling the prime
ministers office or the shared ministerial portfolios
held by the various political parties.
The United Nations is keen that the gains of the electoral
process arent lost. There are delays and
frustrations, but there are also positives that we
shouldnt lose sight of: the end of the crisis isnt
far, Young-jin Choi, head of the UNs 8,000 strong
peacekeeping mission, said in March.
It seems likely the electoral roll will need some sort of
double checking. I dont think therell be an
election until the voting list is more favourable to the
president, says Depagne.
Opinion polls suggest Gbagbo as the likely winner, but
things remain close, and his camp seem less than confident that
the current list will give them victory as it stands.
In terms of disarmament, the overall technical programme
seems to have been established, but for a couple of years,
progress on the formation of the new army and the joint
security force that was meant to secure the elections, has
seemed to lack the political will and resources to be anything
more than symbolic.
Mistrust and profiteering mean the reunification process has
also failed to advance on key matters such as ending smuggling
and imposing state taxes and customs in the ex-rebel zone.