A man casts his ballot during elections in Abidjan. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Côte d’Ivoire returns to presidential elections today, the first presidential election since post-election violence rocked the country in 2010 and 2011 and considered as one of Africa’s fastest emerging economies.
Four years later, the country’s economy has rebounded and security has largely returned to the country, despite former president Laurent Gbagbo awaiting trial in The Hague over his role in the 2011post election civil war, where about 3,000 died.
Incumbent President Alassane Ouattara will stand against 10 candidates, including two women. Of the ten, six are independent candidates and four candidates sponsored by political parties. Among hopefuls are former Prime Ministers Pascal Affi N’Guessan (Ivorian Popular Front) and Charles Konan Banny. Others are former foreign minister Amara Essy, former parliament speaker Mamadou Koulibaly and independent candidate Claire Jacqueline Kouangoua.
The election coincides with Tanzanian presidential polls, the country’s fourth general election following the introduction of a multiparty democratic system in 1993.
Back to Ivory Coast; polling stations will opened at 7a.m and will close at 5 pm. The 17 member electoral management body – Independent Electoral Commission (Commission Electoral Independent) (CEI) is responsible for any election and/or referendum in the country.
Agreeably, CEI has representatives of various stakeholders and is responsible for the registration of voters on electoral lists, organization and monitoring of elections and the announcement of the provisional results of the presidential election. CEI boss Robert Beugre Mambe says the provisional electoral list has 6,300,158 voters, including 344,295 new registrants, who will vote in some 22,000 polling stations
Côte d’Ivoire is a secular republic based on the principle of separation of state powers into three functions – executive, legislature and judiciary. Côte d’Ivoire has had a unicameral National Assembly since the country’s last parliamentary elections in 2012.
The President-elect of the Republic is the chief executive and appoints the Prime Minister, while he is the Head of Government. The current government has 32 ministers, five of whom are women. Most current members of the government belong to coalition of Rally of Houphouétistes for Democracy and Peace (Rassemblement des Houphouétistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP)
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems ( IFES) is leading an international array of presidential elections can be observed by any legal person, including institutions and media organizations duly accredited by CEI.
CEI has adopted and approved a security plan, which has input from a coalition of forces (police, gendarmerie, army and United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) committed to securing the presidential elections.
Sunday’s elections also come against the backdrop of visit to Abidjan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team from September 9–25, 2015. According to the IMF team, macroeconomic performance in the first half of 2015 remained strong, with low inflation and robust real GDP growth. Budget execution was also satisfactory with revenues exceeding the program’s target while expenditure was higher than expected due to acceleration of investment projects.
Pro-poor spending exceeded the expected amount. All performance criteria and quantitative indicative targets, for end-June 2015 under the ECF arrangement were observed. The IMF report says significant progress towards structural reforms, especially clearance of audited domestic arrears, timely reimbursement of VAT credits, sale of government holdings in one of Ivoirien banks among other reforms.
The team congratulated the authorities for taking strong measures to shore up the financial situation of the electricity sector and welcomes the authorities’ intentions to complete ongoing audits of companies in the oil sector whose financial position has deteriorated because of the fall in world oil prices and appreciation of US dollar.