Côte d’Ivoire Consultations on Elections Preparations
Tomorrow (Thursday, 8 December), the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Albert Gerard Koenders, is expected to brief Council members on preparations for legislative elections to be held in Côte d’Ivoire on 11 December. (There are over 1,000 candidates from 35 parties contesting 255 seats in the upcoming elections.) It seems that Council members may be interested in receiving an update on the situation on the ground. However, no Council action is anticipated following the consultations.
Within the Council, it seems there is consensus among members for the need to assist Côte d’Ivoire through this elections phase and its reconciliation process. It appears that France and Nigeria—co-sponsors of resolution 1975 of 30 March that imposed targeted sanctions and reaffirmed UNOCI’s mandate to protect civilians—continue to pay significant attention to the issue.
Ahead of the elections, the UN has deployed 7,000 troops across the country. In order to complement UNOCI’s security capacity during this period, in late November the Council approved a request from the Secretary-General for the transfer of three armed helicopters and two military utility helicopters from the mission in Liberia to Côte d’Ivoire from 3 to 31 December. (As an indication of the significance attached to the legislative elections, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has also sent 60 observers to oversee the elections in Côte d’Ivoire at the request of its government.)
A recent development that could impact the elections is the 30 November transfer of
Côte d’Ivoire’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity related to post-elections violence early this year. (Prior to his transfer, the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions committee removed Gbagbo from the sanctions’ travel ban list, ensuring that his travelling to The Hague would not violate the sanctions regime.) Following the transfer, Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front Party announced it was withdrawing from the legislative elections, as well as from the country’s national reconciliation process, as a result of what it considered Gbagbo’s illegal transfer to the ICC.