The polls have closed and the votes are being counted in Cote d’Ivoire, following the first parliamentary elections in a decade. Despite some irregularities, both election officials and independent observers report that the balloting proceeded normally.
That’s good news, since the success of these elections is an important milestone in the West African nation’s recovery from years of conflict and political turmoil. The 2010 presidential election sparked violent clashes between supporters of the two leading candidates. Along with the country’s new president, Allasane Ouattara, a new parliament has an important role to play in rebuilding the country.
Even though more than 5 million people were eligible to vote for their country’s lawmakers, voter turnout was relatively low. Cote d’Ivoire, though, has a historically a low voter turnout for legislative elections, and the high turnout for the presidential race last year is the exception, not the rule. The vote counting is proceeding peacefully, and preliminary results will be released over the next several days.
The United States has urged calm throughout the entire election process and continues to do so. We are committed to helping Cote d’Ivoire strengthen its democracy, in which violence and intimidation have no part.
We commend the role of the United Nations Mission to Cote d’Ivoire for its logistical and security support during the elections, and look forward to working with both the government and people there to ensure continued progress and a lasting peace.