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Voting begins in Ivory Coast presidential election

18:56 25 October 2015 Author :   The Staff

- More than 6 million Ivorians eligible to vote in first ballot since 2011 civil war

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Voting in Ivory Coast’s presidential election begun Sunday as more than 6 million Ivorians headed to the polls.

Voters are to select a president from among seven candidates. Incumbent Alassane Ouattara is widely expected to win a second five-year term.

Just under 20,000 polling stations opened at 7.00 a.m. (0700GMT) and are to close at 5.00 p.m.

The election will be overseen by more than 5,000 observers from civil society groups and political parties as well as international monitors from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

Two women are standing for office - Henriette Adjoua Lagou and Jacqueline Claire Kouangoua.

Former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan is seen as Ouattara’s main rival and represents the Ivorian Popular Front, the party of former President Laurent Gbagbo, whose loss of the 2010 election led to a war that saw more than 3,000 killed.

Simeon Kouadio Konan, Kacou Gnangbo and Bertin Kouadio Konan are the other candidates.

Ouattara, a 73-year-old former International Monetary Fund official, has steered the country through a period of economic growth following the brief civil war in 2011.

There are concerns of low voter turnout due to Ouattara’s apparently dominant position in the race.

Security will be provided by 34,000 troops, including 6,000 UN peacekeepers.

Last month, clashes occurred between opponents and supporters of Ouattara in the western part of the country, leaving two dead.

Anadolu Agency

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