1 March 2012 The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) said today that it will assess the situation in two constituencies where there were some “incidents” during last weekend’s legislative by-elections.
The country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said yesterday that it was impossible for it to announce the results of the polls in Bonon and Facobly, and that it has asked the Government to open an inquiry into poll-related incidents in these two areas.
“After having analysed the tally sheets of the by-elections which have been sent by the IEC, UNOCI will assess the situation based on the electoral laws, as well as national and international standards, in order to ensure that the voters and candidates in these two constituencies are not deprived of their rights,” the mission said in a statement.
“In accordance with its mandate, UNOCI, as it has always done, will wait for the results of any challenges to the results to be processed by the competent authorities before making a decision on the certification of the by-elections.”
Yesterday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of UNOCI, Bert Koenders, strongly condemned two separate attacks against electoral authorities in the west of the country following the by-elections.
He urged all political groups in the country “to avoid provoking incidents” and to settle any conflicts “by peaceful means.”
On Sunday, the day of the by-elections, unidentified armed individuals shot at an IEC convoy transporting ballot boxes from the central-western town of Gobazra to Bonon. UNOCI peacekeepers who were escorting the convoy responded in a “robust and appropriate manner.”
In its statement today, the UN mission reiterated its readiness to carry out joint investigations with the Government on the incidents in Bonon and Facobly in effort to demonstrate to voters that those who use violence will not gain any electoral benefit.
The by-elections were organized following a decision by the Constitutional Council to annul the results of elections held in December last year in certain constituencies after irregularities were uncovered.
The Constitutional Council received 107 complaints of irregularities from 66 constituencies. Eleven complaints were dismissed.
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