Polls are Open Sunday In Ivory Coast Parliamentary Elections

Posted December 11th, 2011 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
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Ivory Coast voters are going to the polls in the country's first parliamentary elections in more than a decade.

An election official is quoted as saying some polls in Abidjan had not opened nearly two hours after voting started Sunday, but that those polling stations will stay open late.

The Election Commission says almost 1,000 candidates are vying for 255 seats.

President Alassane Ouattara's Democratic Party is poised to win the majority of the seats. Mr. Ouattara's coalition could also be helped by the supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo calling for a boycott of the vote.

In violence leading up to the election, Ivory Coast officials say three people were killed and three others wounded Wednesday when a rocket was fired into a residential courtyard in the Grand Lahou region just before an election rally of supporters of President Ouattara. He was sworn in as president after his forces arrested Mr. Gbagbo in April.

Mr. Gbagbo refused to leave office after losing last November's presidential election, touching off weeks of violence that killed more than 3,000 people and displaced more than one million others.

The former president is now in the Netherlands awaiting charges from the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity following post-election fighting.

The United Nations and human rights groups say backers of Mr. Gbagbo and President Ouattara committed criminal acts following the disputed presidential election.