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UN mission approves Ivory Coast poll results

The head of the United Nations mission in Ivory Coast validated the country's first-round election results on Friday, saying any irregularities could not have affected the outcome.

The world's top cocoa grower is due to hold a November 28 run-off between first round leader and incumbent president Laurent Gabgbo and rival Alassane Ouattara, a process meant to reunify a nation that was once West Africa's brightest prospect.

U.N. mission chief Y.J. Choi was required to sign off on the results according to accords reached to end a political deadlock sparked by a 2002-3 civil war which left the north of the world's top cocoa grower in rebels hands.

"After a thorough analysis and evaluation of the final results of the first round ... I have arrived at the conclusion that the process leading to the proclamation of the final results ... was determined through a fair and transparent process," Choi told a news conference.

Choi added that he was "absolutely sure" there had not been any manipulation, and said any errors or irregularities were "of such a minor nature as to affect in no significant way the overall results of the election".

A successful poll will help pave the way for much-needed reforms to the cocoa sector as well as encourage investors to return to a nation also seeking to diversify its economy.

So far, cocoa future markets have reserved their judgement on the poll, which has not had a major impact on prices. Ivory Coast's $2.3 billion Eurobond, has traded with a yield largely unchanged at ubnder 10 percent.

12 November 2010   


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