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Ivory Coast to hold long-delayed 'reconciliation' poll

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nirvana


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Ivory Coast to hold long-delayed 'reconciliation' poll
Election posters in Ivory Coast If the elections succeed they should signal the end of a difficult decade

Voters in Ivory Coast are due to cast their ballots in presidential elections which have been delayed six times.

Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo is running against 13 candidates, including veteran politicians Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie.

There are concerns about security if the results of the poll are contested.

The vote is seen a key step in helping the nation heal its deep ethnic rifts, which came close to splitting the country during civil war in 2002.

A deal signed in 2007 led to an uneasy peace in Ivory Coast - seen as one of West Africa's most successful countries until the outbreak of the hostilities.
Investments on hold

Almost six million people are eligible to cast their ballots when the polling stations open at 0700 GMT on Sunday. The voting will end at 1700 GMT.
Continue reading the main story
Election front-runners
An Ivorian holds out form of how the ballot will look

* Laurent Gbagbo (LMP)
* Henri Konan Bedie (PDCI-RDA)
* Alassane Ouattara (RDR)

* Ivorian election tour
* Country profile: Ivory Coast

This will be Ivory Coast's first presidential election in 10 years and is likely to be an extremely close race, which will almost certainly go to a second round, the BBC's John James in Abidjan reports.

The main candidate from the north, former IMF economist Alassane Ouattara - who was banned from previous races - is one of the favourites, our correspondent says.

His main rivals are President Gbagbo and Mr Bedie, a former leader ousted in a coup in 1999.

Many of the contenders for the top job have similar policies: relaunching the economy, reducing youth unemployment and stopping further conflict.

The delay in organising elections since the 2007 agreement has put investments on hold, as well as postponing reforms of the cocoa industry which produces nearly 40% of the world's supply, our correspondent says.





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His main rivals are President Gbagbo and Mr Bedie, a former leader ousted in a coup in 1999.

Many of the contenders for the top job have similar policies: relaunching the economy, reducing youth unemployment and stopping further conflict.

The delay in organising elections since the 2007 agreement has put investments on hold, as well as postponing reforms of the cocoa industry which produces nearly 40% of the world's supply, our correspondent says.
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