Ivory Coast election better late than deadly

It will be better for Ivory Coast to hold its already overdue elections late rather than rushing to hold a vote that leads to a resumption of violence, President Laurent Gbagbo said.

“We want to hold elections to not have any more problems,” he told journalists Tuesday upon his arrival in Burkina Faso.

“Abroad people are saying ‘hold elections!’, but we are recovering from a war, so we want to hold elections that don’t lead to another outbreak of war,” said Gbagbo.

A vote due to have been held last month was postponed by Gbagbo to a yet unspecified date due to what he said were irregularities in voting lists.

“Better to hold elections late and not have a conflict than having elections quickly and then having deaths. We are tired of crying for our dead,” said Gbagbo.

Elections have been put off repeatedly since Gbagbo’s current mandate expired in 2005 while the country was divided between the government-held south and the north, held by the rebel New Forces, who had tried to oust him in a September 2002 coup.

Gbagbo arrived in Burkina Faso ahead of a meeting Thursday of the nations supporting Ivory Coast’s political transition.

The country’s election commission began last week work on trying to resolve more than one million disputed voter registrations.


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