|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6437th Meeting* (AM)
Opposition Man’s Win ‘Irrefutable’, Top United Nations Official in Côte d’Ivoire
Tells Security Council, Stressing Need to Safeguard Run-off Election Results
Describing the opposition candidate’s victory in the 28 November Côte d’Ivoire presidential run-off election as “irrefutable”, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the West African country told the Security Council today that it was crucial to safeguard the poll results.
“There was only one winner with a clear margin,” said Y.J. Choi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), explaining why he had certified the results of the run-off election, a critical part of the peace process in the country, divided by civil war in 2002. “Considering the distance Côte d’Ivoire has travelled, ignoring the will of the Ivorian people at this stage would be a let-down of the people of Côte d’Ivoire and a waste of significant resources invested over the past eight years by the international community,” he added.
He said that, despite some violent incidents, the second-round ballot had been conducted in a democratic atmosphere, with representatives of both candidates present in all polling stations. The election had attracted the high participation rate of 81 per cent. But following the vote, the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had been unable to proclaim the provisional results promptly, partly due to internal divisions, exacerbated by “protection” provided by Ivorian security authorities, he said.
IEC President Youssouf Bakayoko had finally proclaimed the provisional results on 2 December, he continued, noting that opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara had garnered 54.10 per cent of the votes and current President Laurent Gbagbo 45.90 per cent. That evening, however, Paul Yao N’Dre, President of the Constitutional Council, had declared the IEC proclamation “null and void” as the three-day legal limit for announcing the provisional results had passed. The next day, Mr. N’Dre had proclaimed final results, with the cancellation of polling in four northern regions giving Mr. Gbagbo 51.45 per cent of the vote.
Mr. Choi said he had in the meantime completed his mandated analysis of tally sheets transported by UNOCI and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and had certified the results “without regard to the methods used by either the IEC or the Constitutional Council”. He had concluded that Mr. Ouattara was the clear winner, even taking into account all complaints submitted to the Constitutional Council by the presidential camp, and had, therefore, certified the second round results on 3 December.
He emphasized that the United Nations had not sought the responsibility of certification, but had been requested to take it on by Ivorian leaders as part of the 2005 Pretoria Agreement. “This is a solemn responsibility that the United Nations has towards all Ivorian people, who yearn for and deserve peace, stability and prosperity,” he said.
In closing the meeting, Council President Susan Rice ( United States) cautioned that the presence of Côte d’Ivoire’s representative at the meeting should not be construed as an acknowledgement of his Government’s legitimacy.
The meeting began at 10:17 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.
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* The 6435th and 6436th Meetings were closed.