International Election Observation Mission (Ieom), Côte d'Ivoire 2021 – Legislative Elections

(En français)

“An inclusive election in a generally peaceful atmosphere”

In a preliminary statement released today, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and The Carter Center presented their initial findings following the observation of the election of members of the National Assembly which took place on March 6, 2021. The mission notes that the election was held in a much calmer and peaceful socio-political context than that of the Oct. 31 presidential poll.

The political agreement of December 29, 2020 contributed significantly to easing political tensions and the organization of inclusive and largely peaceful elections. The mission salutes the efforts of the electoral, administrative, and traditional authorities, the police and Ivorian civil society to ensure peaceful elections.

Although prohibited by the electoral code, pre-campaign activities were carried out by the ruling party and the opposition. Although the election campaign took place in a generally calm atmosphere and without any major incidents, the lingering impact of restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, particularly in relation to demonstrations and protest activities during the presidential election and post-election crisis, negatively affected the legislative electoral process. Despite the absence of new prohibitions, the continued detention without trial of several hundreds of demonstrators and supporters of the civil disobedience movement arrested during the presidential election cycle raised concern among citizens and activists regarding public gatherings. These apprehensions were compounded by uncertainty over the prevailing COVID-19 measures for the holding of public gatherings during the pre-campaign and election campaign.

The pre-campaign and campaign activities, as well as polling, received significant coverage in a highly polarized media environment. However, it generated little voter enthusiasm, and on election day, voter turnout appeared low. The mission observed that the campaign gained in intensity in its last hours, notwithstanding the use of ethnically discriminatory speech in some localities.

There are some shortcomings in the existing legislation related to aspects of the electoral process, among others on the use of State resources and candidate eligibility. In terms of national legislation and its implementation, the mission encourages the State of Côte d'Ivoire to further its efforts in the field of civil and political rights and to enforce its commitments more strictly and rigorously, including with respect to ensuring greater women’s representation in parliament. Most political parties or groups did not comply with the law setting a quota of 30% of women in their lists of candidates, ignoring legal obligations.

The mission's 20 teams observed polling and counting operations in 293 polling stations across the country. Polling station staff conducted voting operations in a largely professional and transparent manner. Despite the calm and peaceful climate that persisted in most constituencies throughout election day, the mission observed limited voter turnout. The IEOM enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Electoral Commission at the central and local level. The mission encourages the Independent Electoral Commission (Commission électorale indépendante, CEI in French) to report on its management of the electoral process and to publish all decisions and orders relating to the election of Members of the National Assembly in a timely manner, including on the transmission and proclamation of the results.

The CEI has committed itself to publish results disaggregated by polling station to allow comparison with the results protocols. The IEOM applauds the CEI for this initiative, which is in alignment with international standards for transparency and access to information, and encourages it to publish the disaggregated results in a timely and effective fashion so as to facilitate a candidate’ ability to file and substantiate any electoral challenges. The mission continues to observe the ongoing tabulation process.

The full preliminary statement is available here.

Communiqué De Presse: Mission Internationale D’observation Électorale (Mioe), Côte d'Ivoire 2021 – Élections Législatives | Déclaration Préliminaire

Head of Mission
Denis Kadima

EOM Côte d’Ivoire 2021
Abraham KOUASSI – Press Officer – Mobile: +225 07 57 84 74 90