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Call for calm in Ivory Coast

Nov 24, 2010, 11:38 AM

The presidential election in Ivory Coast is set to go into a second round after the two top candidates failed to attain 50% of the vote.

With all the ballots counted from the first round, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo won 38% and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara came out second with 32% of the votes cast.

The run-off, scheduled for Sunday 28 November 2010, is expected to be a tight race between the two arch rivals.

As a result, we would like to call on the presidential candidates to preach peace before and after the elections, since a peaceful poll will also determine the credibility of the election.

The electoral commission should make sure that the election is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner in order to avoid any form of post-election bickering and violence in the country.

We believe that people should be allowed to freely exercise their democratic rights, without any political interference.

It would be recalled that elections have been postponed six times in Ivory Coast, and the present poll is expected to fully reunify the country after years of rebel control in the north.

The people of Ivory Coast should learn from the Guinea experience, where the election brought some political turmoil to the country.

One thing the Ivorians have to avoid is voting on ethnic lines; this can bring political conflict among supporters of the parties.

The security apparatus in the country should also be tactful in the way and manner in which they execute their duties, and they also have to be neutral as far as the election is concerned.

The people of that West African country are expected to allow peace to prevail in the interest of democracy.

Holding regular elections is critical for any genuine democracy, since it allows people to freely choose their own leaders.

Those who subscribe to good governance must remember that Democracy is, in fact, the government of the people, by the people and for the people.