In anticipation of Nov. 30 presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire, NDI, the UN mission in Abidjan and the Ivorian electoral commission co-led negotiations on a code of conduct for Ivorian political parties. The code was adopted April 24 during a signing ceremony attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Côte d’Ivoire was once an anchor of political and economic stability in West Africa. But armed conflict that began in 2002 left the northern part of the country under the control of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebel movement, which opposed the government of President Laurent Gbagbo.
The Ouagadougou Political Accord, signed in March 2007 by the government and the FN, revived hope for peace and a successful national reconciliation process. Although armed conflict has ceased, significant mistrust remains between northerners and southerners.
A successful presidential election would rebuild citizen confidence in democratic governance and underscore the principle that multiparty elections are the appropriate mechanism for pursuing political goals. At the same time, most Ivorians are apprehensive that the elections could exacerbate regional and ethnic tensions if they are not conducted properly.
To help defuse tensions, NDI brought together political party leaders to develop the code of conduct. The Institute, in partnership with the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) and the Independent Election Commission (CEI), provided technical support.
The code seeks to regulate the behavior of political parties, candidates and their supporters and identifies mechanisms to resolve election-related disputes. The consultative process helped the political parties reach consensus on the code and ensured their support for it.
The resulting historic document, the first to be signed in Ivorian history, represents the commitment of all Ivorian parties to resolve political and electoral disputes through dialogue rather than violence. The code of conduct also provides benchmarks against which Ivorians and international partners can hold parties accountable.
During the signing ceremony, President Gbagbo said that through the code, Ivorian parties have committed themselves to holding peaceful and transparent elections, adding that it should serve as a roadmap to help bring about peace as the country slowly emerges from five years of armed conflict.
The text of the code of conduct is available, in the original French, at:
Pictured above: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, center, receiving the code of conduct from Robert Beugré Mambé, the president of the Ivorian electoral commission
Published on April 29, 2008