Electoral/Political Party Reform: Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA)

OUAGADOUGOU POLITICAL AGREEMENT 

I. General identification of the population

1.3. Launching of an operation for the issuance of new identity documents (national identity cards and residence permits)The Parties undertake to conduct a special operation for the issuance of new identity cards in accordance with the following modalities:

1.3.1. Standard identification

1.3.1.1. Ivorians who are required to carry a national identity card and who have been issued with a certificate of nationality and a birth certificate or substitute birth certificate shall be entitled to be issued with the new national identity card.

1.3.1.2. Non-Ivorians who have been issued with a substitute birth certificate and a document from their consulate stating their nationality shall be entitled to be issued with a new identity card consistent with their legal status in the country.

1.3.2. Identification on the basis of the new electoral roll

1.3.2.1. In order to expedite the process of identification and given the current situation of the administration in Côte d'Ivoire and the consequent need to end the crisis, the Parties agree to accredit identification based on the electoral roll.

1.3.2.2. At the conclusion of the mobile court hearings and based on the 2000 electoral roll, the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) shall conduct an electoral census during which biometrical data shall be collected throughout the national territory. Ivorians at least 18 years of age who are holders of a birth certificate or a substitute birth certificate shall be entitled to register on the electoral roll.

1.3.2.3. All citizens registered on the electoral roll shall be issued with a receipt bearing their personal identification number. This receipt must be presented when uplifting voter registration cards and the new national identity cards.

1.3.2.4. Upon completion of the procedure for validation of the electoral roll by the Independent Electoral Commission, the Council of Ministers shall adopt a decree authorizing the issuance of the new national identity card to all persons whose names appear on the final electoral roll, which will serve as a common database for the issuance of the new national identity card and voter registration card.

1.3.3. Characteristics of the new identity documents

1.3.3.1. The new identity documents shall be forgery-proof and shall contain many security features and a personal identification number for each holder.

1.3.3.2. The new identity documents shall be manufactured and issued by the National Identification Office (ONI) under the supervision of the National Commission for the Supervision of Identification (CNSI).

1.3.3.3. With the agreement of both Parties, the Government shall engage the services of a technical agency which shall be appointed by a decree of the Council of Ministers to undertake the identification operation.

II. Electoral process The Parties to the direct dialogue, determined to achieve without delay a lasting peace and political and institutional normalization in Côte d'Ivoire, reaffirm their commitment to prepare for open, democratic and transparent presidential elections upon completion of the identification process, in accordance with the Linas-Marcoussis, Accra and Pretoria Agreements. To this end, they have decided as follows:

2.1. Registration on the electoral roll

2.1.1. The Parties agree that registration on the electoral roll shall be undertaken by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) and the technical agency designated by the Government for the identification operation. These two agencies shall discharge their mandate under the supervision of the Independent Electoral Commission.

2.1.2. All Ivorian citizens of voting age may be registered on the electoral roll. In order to register, they must be in possession of the following documents: a birth certificate or substitute birth certificate.

2.1.3. A decree by the Council of Ministers shall establish the modalities for registration on the electoral roll, in accordance with the provisions of the electoral code.

2.2. Publication of the definitive electoral roll

2.2.1. The definitive electoral roll, validated by the Independent Electoral Commission, shall be published in accordance with the provisions of article 11, paragraph 2, of the electoral code, or in any other manner agreed upon by the Parties.

2.3. Preparation and issuance of voter registration cards

2.3.1. Voter registration cards shall be prepared under the supervision of the Independent Electoral Commission once the definitive electoral roll has been published.

2.3.2. Voter registration cards shall be issued by the Independent Electoral Commission through its various branches at least two weeks prior to the date of the elections, in accordance with article 5 of the electoral code.

2.3.3. Voters who fail to uplift their voter registration cards before the deadline laid down in the above paragraph may nevertheless vote with their new national identity cards if they are duly registered on the electoral roll.

2.4. Collaboration between agencies involved in the electoral process

2.4.1. In order to ensure transparency and efficiency, the National Institute of Statistics and the technical agency designated by the Government shall work together under the supervision of the Independent Electoral Commission to prepare the voter registration cards.

2.4.2. The modalities of such collaboration shall be set out in a decree by the Council of Ministers.

Implementation History

2007

Intermediate Implementation

The Ouagadougou Political Agreement had various provisions related to elections and the electoral process. In the accord, parties agreed to launch an operation to issue a new identification document for the purpose of solidifying the electoral roll. The Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) was responsible for conducting an electoral census and parties had agreed that all Ivorians of 18 years of age who held an Ivorian birth certificate or a substitute birth certificate were to be registered on the electoral roll. Those already in the electoral roll (in the electoral list established in 2000) were automatically added to the new list after presenting a birth certificate. After producing the electoral roll, CEI was responsible for publication. The peace accord also had a provision to publish the definitive electoral roll followed by the issuance of voter registration cards. The accord called for inter-agency cooperation between the National Institute of Statistics (INS) and the CEI. As such, the accord specifically provided for the electoral census, voter registration, and identification cards.

The process of implementing provisions related to electoral reform started in 2007. According to the United Nations Secretary General’s report to the Security Council, the CEI had completed central and regional structural set-up to support the task of carrying out the electoral census.1 The mobile court, which was expected to be established for identification of the population, was not established in a timely manner. It was expected to start in April of 2007. On 5 June, magistrates were appointed for 45 jurisdictions to carry out the planned mobile court operations.2 The mobile courts to identify the population began work starting 25 September. As of December, 55 technical teams (33 of which were operational) were deployed out of 111 planned mobile courts. It was reported that the court granted a total of 93,027 duplicate birth certificates nationwide.3

  • 1. “Thirteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/275), May 14, 2007.
  • 2. “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/ 593), October 1, 2007.
  • 3. “Fifteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/1), January 2, 2008.
2008

Intermediate Implementation

Steady progress was made in terms of implementing provisions related to identifying the population and creating a new electoral roll. As of April, all 111 technical teams or mobile courts were operational and had issued 565,854 duplicate birth certificates.4 By the end of December, 2.8 million people were identified nationwide among the country's population of 19 million.5

Presidential elections did not take place in June 2008. The election was rescheduled for 30 November 2008. On 10 November, President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, along with prominent politician Alassane Ouattara and former President Henri Konan Bedie, agreed to postpone elections due to delays in voter registration.

  • 4. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 5. “Nineteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/21), January 8, 2009; “Ivory Coast extends voter identification deadline,” Agence France Presse, August 19, 2008.
2009

Intermediate Implementation

Population identification and voter registration was completed by the end of June. A total of 6,552,694 people were registered in a voter roll, including 38,496 Ivorians registered in 23 foreign countries.6 Parties missed the 29 August deadline for the publication of the provisional electoral list. Parties also missed another deadline of 15 September.7 The CEI announced a voter list on 23 November 2010.8 As soon as the provisional electoral list was published, the appeal process was initiated, which was expected to be completed by early January 2010.9 Presidential elections, which were scheduled to be held on 29 November 2009, were postponed.10

  • 6. “Twenty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/495), September 29, 2009.
  • 7. “Twenty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/495), September 29, 2009.
  • 8. “Twenty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/15), January 7, 2010.
  • 9. “Twenty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/15), January 7, 2010.
  • 10. “Ivory Coast sets long-awaited election for Nov. 29,” Associated Press, May 14, 2009.
2010

Full Implementation

While electoral reform finally took place in 2010, the issue of voter lists remained contentious among political parties. The President insisted on verifying the voter list and his party, FPI, asked for an audit. The Prime Minster, who was not contesting elections, held a series of meetings with stakeholders. On 2 May, the Prime Minister and the President issued a joint statement on processing the provisional voter list in two stages. In the first stage, starting 10 May, persons registered in the “gray list” were to provide evidence for registration on the “white list.” In the second stage, the appeal process -- concerning the 5.3 million voters registered in the “white list” -- would begin.11 The identification of voters in the “gray list” was completed by 15 June 2010. As such, 496,738 persons were eligible for voting and included in the white list, which increased to 5,775,184 voters.12 In the appeal process, a total of 68,751 petitions were registered to remove 30,293 individuals from the list due to claims of fraud. The court hearing on these cases ended on 28 August 2010.13 In response of fraud allegations from the President’s party, parties agreed to verify the identities of 1,792,356 persons on the “white list”. Following a meeting with the President and other stakeholders on 6 September, the Prime Minister announced the removal of some 55,000 voters from the “white list” as civil registry records could not be found for them.14

A final voter list was published on 30 September. The issuance of 5,932,999 national identity cards and 5,725,720 voter cards began 6 October.15 Elections were held on 31 October 2010.16 This completed the implementation of the electoral reform provisions of the accord.

  • 11. “Twenty-fourth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/245), May 20, 2010.
  • 12. “Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/537), October 18, 2010.
  • 13. “Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council, (S/2010/537), October 18, 2010.
  • 14. “Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/537), October 18, 2010.
  • 15. “Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/537), October 18, 2010; “Twenty-sixth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/600), November 23, 2010.
  • 16. “Ivory Coast long-delayed election now set for Oct,” Associated Press, August 5, 2010.
2011

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2012

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2013

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2014

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2015

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.