Promoting Peaceful Elections in Cote d'Ivoire
For over a decade, Cote d’Ivoire suffered severe civil and military unrest culminating with the contested elections of 2010 which were not resolved until UN and French military intervention in 2011. This crisis rent the social fabric of the nation. While peace has returned, many view it as fragile.
As the country prepares for presidential elections in October 2015, the country remains haunted by the memories of the last election. To address this, the USAID funded Legislative Strengthening Program in Cote d’Ivoire in collaboration with the National Assembly of Cote d’Ivoire, the National Program on Social Cohesion, the USAID/OTI Cote d’Ivoire Transition Initiatives 2 (CITI2), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) to organize a seminar on conflict reconciliation, prevention and management during the election season. The seminar, held in Dabou from September 18 to 20, 2015, brought together 26 Members of Parliament (MPs), 21 ANCI administrative staff and 12 CSO representatives from 2 CSO networks: PEACE and POECI
“I would like to think that these exchanges will permit us to appropriate all the necessary tools to be artisans of social harmony within our society” - Honorable Michel Danouelo, Vice-President of the National Assembly
The goal of the seminar was both to inform the participants of the interventions being made to promote a peaceful election and to facilitate a dialogue between the MPs and CSOs about what they can do. Participants leaned about the efforts being made to build capacity of national and local institutions to manage elections (CITI2), civic education initiatives to promote peaceful and credible elections (NDI and IFES), and early warning mechanisms to provide alerts on potential conflicts that may arise (WANEP). Participants also discussed their perceptions of how MPs and CSOs had engaged in previous elections, often with each side viewing the other as triggering conflict, and how they can work together to provide more positive influences in the upcoming elections.
By the end of the seminar, the MPs and CSO representatives adopted a declaration of engagement in the 2015 elections (posted on the ANCI website), committing themselves to actively work to prevent and manage conflicts by informing and educating the public on the electoral process and democratic principles, and by promoting peace, reconciliation and social cohesion.
Posted October 13, 2015