Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire votes in landmark elections

Reuters

Polls in Côte d'Ivoire opened Sunday in presidential elections that are seen as a chance to reunite a country that was divided by civil war. About 5.7 million people are eligible to vote in the election, which has been postponed six times in the past five years.

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The three main candidates on the list are President Laurent Gbagbo, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara and former president Henri Konan Bedie.

“It looks like no matter what neighbourhood you’re in, what economic class you come from, what ethnicity you hail from or even which candidate you support, it looks like everyone is really out in full force,” says correspondent Marco Chown Oved. “That’s because they haven’t been able to vote for 10 full years and they seem fairly sick of this crisis situation.”

The Independent Electoral Commission aims to announce provisional results on Monday.

Thousands of government troops, former rebel fighters, police and UN peacekeepers are deployed to secure the poll.

The government announced Saturday that the borders were sealed and would remain closed until Tuesday evening to prevent troublemakers trying to flee after stirring up unrest.

Gbagbo came to power in a 2000 election from which Bedie and Ouattara were excluded, and survived a coup attempt two years later that escalated into a full-scale civil war in which thousands were killed.

He has postponed presidential elections six times since the end of his term in 2005 amid rows over rebel disarmament and voter registration.

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