IVORY COAST TO ELECT NEW LEADER ON NOV 29


Ivory Coast’s prime minister said his country will hold a long-delayed presidential election on November 29, calling the date “realistic”, but analysts warned it was likely to slip like others set to end years of crisis. The poll is meant to reunite the world’s top cocoa grower after a brief 2002-2003 war left the north of the country in the hands of rebels. Previous election deadlines have slipped during a tortuous United Nations-backed peace process.

Polls are seen as a necessary precursor for reforms of the cocoa sector, which provides 40 percent of global supply but is struggling with ageing plantations, lagging interest amongst farmers and allegations of corrupt administrators. “November 29 is a realistic date. We think we have more clarity and visibility on the electoral process,” Prime Minister Guillaume Soro said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The last date given by the Ivorian authorities for a poll was November 30, 2008, but that was missed as voter identification started late and has since been bogged down by financial constraints and rows over procedures. Six million Ivorians have now been registered to vote but the electoral lists still need to be verified by all parties.

The thorny question of whether the northern rebels will have to disarm ahead of the polls must also be addressed. Politicians on from all sides welcomed the new date, saying it would put an end to uncertainty and encourage investors.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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