(AFP) – Sep 19, 2008
OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) — The head of Ivory Coast's electoral committee excludes any delays in the long awaited elections in the West African country "for now", he told journalists late Thursday.
"The date of November 30 was proposed by us and it is a moral obligation," independent electoral committee chief Robert Mambe Beugre said after a meeting with Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, who mediated in Ivory Coast peace negotiations that led to the elections.
"The reality of what happens in the field will force us to confirm that date or change it but for now that is out of the question," Mambe said.
The elections had initially been due to be held in 2005 at the end of President Laurent Gbagbo's term in office but have been delayed several times.
The vote and the distribution of identity cards linked to the vote formed a key part of the Ouagadougou peace agreement signed last year between Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro, the prime minister and leader of the ex-rebel New Forces (FN) group.
The preparations for the presidential elections are advancing very slowly and on Monday Gbagbo said they might be delayed again until December 15. A number of observers have also said that the current time frame will be impossible to keep.
The electoral committee chief said that the date of November 30 was chosen on the basis of objective criteria.
"One of these criteria relates to the registration of voters and the process of identification of the populations which has just started. As it evolves (...) we will speak with the mediator and the political actors in our country and tell you what will happen," he explained.
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