Ivory Coast Election Body ’Still Working’ on Results

Ivory Coast’s election commission said it was still tabulating ballots from the country’s Nov. 28 presidential runoff, missing a key deadline amid calls from international groups to announce a result.

The commission is “not ready” to release any figures, spokesman Baba Coulibaly told reporters outside the Abidjan headquarters of the agency, less than an hour after a deadline passed that was meant to see the outcome announced within three days of the vote. Coulibaly said the results may be announced later today.

Only votes of Ivorians overseas have been given so far. The election was meant to unite Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, which remains divided between a rebel-held north and government-controlled south, eight years after a military uprising.

President Laurent Gbagbo is trying to extend his decade in power and faces a challenge from former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Both candidates traded accusations of fraud following the vote. The European Union’s observation mission in the country said Nov. 30 that any irregularities on election day weren’t enough to affect the outcome.

Yesterday, the EU and the United Nations urged the commission to respect the midnight deadline and release the results. Agence France-Presse reported yesterday that missing the deadline may mean the country’s Constitutional Court would be given the power to certify, or not, the results. The news agency said the court was headed by a Gbagbo loyalist.

Cocoa futures for March delivery lost $49, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $2,758 a metric ton in New York.

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