Côte d’Ivoire: Only 40% of registered voters collect their voter card according to the Electoral Commission

An election official puts a stamp on a voter's card at a polling station during the legislative elections Abidjan, Ivory Coast December 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon
An election official puts a stamp on a voter’s card at a polling station during the legislative elections Abidjan, Ivory Coast December 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Côte d’Ivoire votes this Saturday, October 31 for the first round of the presidential election. Nearly 7.5 million Ivorian citizens are expected to put their ballot in the ballot box. They had until last Sunday to withdraw their voter cards. But less than half of the registered voters went to collect it. This weak mobilization could be explained by the call for civil disobedience and active boycott by the opposition.
With more than 900,000 new voters on the electoral rolls, the popular enthusiasm for this year’s presidential election seemed to be in full swing. But the card withdrawal rate of only 41 per cent seems to indicate otherwise.
The Independent Electoral Commission announced on Monday afternoon that only three million registered voters had actually recovered their precious sesame at the end of the card distribution period.
The IEC had indeed noted a slowdown in the distribution of the famous cards. It attributes this slowdown to acts of civil disobedience by opposition activists, who are still challenging the legitimacy of the elections.
For Issiaka Sangaré, the general secretary of the FPI of the candidate Pascal Affi N’Guessan, this low withdrawal rate shows that the watchword of the opposition is respected. He even believes that the Electoral Commission has inflated its figure. The opposition coalition met yesterday and the spokesman called for civil disobedience to be extended throughout the country.
It remains difficult to estimate the extent to which voter turnout might be affected. But the IEC reminds that the cards will be waiting for voters in their polling stations on D-day, and that the number of 22,000 polling stations remains unchanged, contrary to what President Alassane Ouattara announced in an interview with the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network