Ivory Coast elections to choose a new parliament started on Sunday in a first post- Laurent Gbagbo polls
Ivory Coast elections to choose a new parliament started on Sunday in a first post- Laurent Gbagbo polls.
The party of the former strongman Gbagbo, who is awaiting trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity, boycotted the elections.
With Gbagbo sitting in an International Criminal Court (ICC) cell, the coalition backing President Alassane Ouattara is widely expected to gain a majority of the 255 seats in the new assembly.
The vote comes only a year after the poll that brought the world's top cocoa producer, once a beacon of stability in the west African region, to the brink of civil war in a conflict that claimed some 3,000 lives. And it follows a week of campaigning that left five people dead.
Some 25,000 members of the Ivorian security forces, backed by 7,000 members of the UN peacekeeping mission, will be deployed to ensure security during the election in this country of 21 million people.
Initial turnout was low at Abidjan polling stations visited by AFP journalists in Adjame as well as Koumassi, where the main market is located, and in the central city of Bouake.
About 5.7 million voters will cast their ballots, with polling stations to close at 5:00 pm (1700 GMT), watched over by 150 international and 3,000 Ivorian observers. Election results are expected mid-week.
Violence erupted in the former French colony after the November 2010 presidential run-off when Gbagbo was eventually captured in his presidential palace by pro-Ouattara forces in April 2011, with support from French and UN troops.
Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front has called its champion's transfer to the ICC a "political kidnapping," vowing to pull out of the reconciliation process.