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Ivory Coast election to be 'peaceful', vows president

Update: August, 07/2015 - 12:00

ABIDJAN — Ivory Coast's presidential election will take place in a "peaceful climate", President Alassane Ouattara said on Thursday in Abidjan, ahead of October 25 polls seen to be crucial for stability after a decade of political and military crisis.

"I am committed to ensuring that these elections be free, open, transparent and democratic," Ouattara said in a national address on the eve of celebrations set for Friday marking the 55th anniversary of independence from France.

"I will respect this commitment."

Ouattara, who registered his candidacy Wednesday in a bid for a second term that he is widely expected to win, said "all conditions are met" for fair elections "in a peaceful climate." "I asked the government to take all the necessary measures... to ensure the safety of Ivorians," he said.

He urged citizens to allow others to "express their choice."

On Wednesday the government announced the election would be held on October 25.

The country's main opposition, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), last month chose party chief Pascal Affi N'Guessan as its candidate.

The final electoral list, including over 300,000 new electors, will include around 6.2 million voters, the government said in a statement.

The FPI was founded by Laurent Gbagbo, Ivorian president from 2000 to 2011, who is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after elections in 2010 sparked a bloody five-month standoff in which the UN estimates about 3,000 people died.

October's vote offers the hope of greater stability in a country where the atrocities of 2010-2011 are still fresh in people's minds.

The selection of N'Guessan to run for the FPI comes amid a serious crisis in the party which threatens its unity.

One side backs N'Guessan as presidential candidate, but the other objects to this and wants the release of Gbagbo before agreeing to any elections.

Ouattara has promised that if he gains a fresh mandate in October he will not seek a third term. — AFP

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