Final report of the EU observation mission on the presidential elections held in Ivory Coast in October - November 2010 (01/02/2011)
FINAL REPORT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS HELD IN IVORY COAST IN OCTOBER, NOVEMBER 2010
The Final Report of the EU observation mission offers a comprehensive analysis of the context of the presidential election, the relevant data and submits recommendations in view of future elections in Ivory Coast.
The full text of the report can be downloaded on the mission's website.
"After each round of the elections, I have communicated, in Abidjan, the preliminary findings of the Mission. I regret that due to the present circumstances I am not able to present also this report in Ivory Coast" stated Cristian Preda, Chief Observer of EU's Electoral Observation Mission in Ivory Coast, during the presentation of the Final Report in Brussels, at the European Parliament. "I hope that this report informs the Ivoirians and all the parties involved on the conditions in which these elections took place". Cristian Preda also hopes that "the conclusions of the Mission would bring about progress in solving the crisis that this country is currently experiencing".
At the invitation of the Ivoirian government, the EU deployed an Electoral Observation Mission in Ivory Coast (EUEOM) for the presidential elections. These elections have been long awaited by the Ivoirian citizens, as well as the whole African continent and the international community which hoped that elections would signal the reconciliation and the return of democracy in this country.
120 observers, coming from 23 EU Members States as well as Norway and Switzerland, have been present all over the country during the two rounds of elections held on October 30th and November 28th, respectively. They have closely monitored the process of preparation of the elections led by the Independent Electoral Commission, analyzed the campaign, the media coverage, the Ivoirian legislation and its implementation in light of the established international standards for democratic elections. They have observed the polls in 4, 7% of the 20.000 polling stations, the vote counting, the vote aggregation and the proclamation of results, e.g. the electoral process as a whole, by following the established methodology for European Electoral Observation in a neutral and independent manner.
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Key points of the Report
The first round of the presidential elections went on calmly with a record participation rate.
The electoral campaign was monopolized by three candidates having disproportionate means at their disposal.
The electoral campaign for the second round was marked by an upsurge of violence, coming mainly from the incumbent president's camp, a xenophobic and nationalist discourse
Imbalanced media coverage favoring the incumbent president.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), improved, after a certain disorganization during the first round, its performance during the second round, but the curfew imposed by the former President Gbagbo a day before the poll, despite all efforts by the Facilitator Blaise Compaoré to try to dissuade him, has contributed to disorganize vote counting and result aggregation.
The positive points, as concerns the transparence of these elections: strong presence of candidate's representatives in the polling stations and the fact that they had access to the tally sheets, just as the IEC, the Constitutional Council and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG). The EUEOM regrets, however, that in spite of its repeated requests, its observers have not been granted access to the tally sheets, and that these tally sheets have not been displayed in the polling stations.
The EUEOM has observed certain irregularities in the conduct of the polls, but according to its evaluation, these irregularities have not affected the results.
The Mission concludes that the electoral process has been correct, and that the results announced by the IEC are credible. The Mission considers that the process of certification done by the SRSG, following his mandate, corresponded to what the Mission has observed.
The Constitutional Council decision taken upon request by candidate Laurent Gbagbo is considered by the EUEOM as a violation of the Ivoirian legislation and as an abuse of power, in particular because:
- the Ivoirian law does not allow the Council to partially annul the election and modify the final results; according to the law, it can only annul the election as a whole, and order a rerun
- the Council has not proceeded to a contradictory investigation upon the candidate's Gbagbo request
- the Council decision lacks proportionality and represents a violation of the right to vote as it annulled 664 405 votes, representing 16% of the total number of voters, in order to proclaim the victory of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.