- The first quarter of 2008 has been scheduled for the period of the much-delayed presidential and legislative elections of Côte d'Ivoire.
The news was relayed after the Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro reached an agreement on the issue in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou. This achievement was facilitated by the Burkinabé President Blaise Compaoré.
Elections were first scheduled to take place in October 2005. But the mandate of Mr Soro [former Secretary of Forces Nouvelles rebel group] will expire after the 2008 elections.
The Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Djibrill Bassolé, confirmed that both Gbagbo and Soro had agreed to do their "very best" to hold elections in the first quarter of next year. Bassolé said the country's Independent Electoral Commission deserves the right to propose specific date for the elections.
Ivorian leaders have examined practical and technical factors hindering the electoral process. These include the printing of ID and voter's cards. Millions of Ivorians have been without Identity papers.
In a national televised address, President Gbagbo, who fixed December as the date of election, exhorted Ivorians to bury their political crisis and elect their leader with "goodwill and determination."
Mr Gbagbo called on Ivorians to grab the opportunity to foster peace, national reconciliation and shape a better future of Côte d'Ivoire.
Since then, the Prime Minister's office had been trying to address the complex and delicate identification and registration of voters, key factors fuelled the country's five-year civil war.
Presidential elections were first scheduled to take place in October 2005.
The Ivorian crisis, which started on 19 September 2002, had divided the country’s north and south for years. However, following the signing of a peace deal in Ouagadou on 4 March 2007, Ivorians have since been breathing the air of peace, reconciliation and unity.
Gbagbo appointed Mr Soro as the Prime Minister after the signing of the Ouagadougou accord.
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