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Ivory Coast elections legitimate, U.N. says

From Ben Brumfield, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A run-off is scheduled for November 28 between the top two vote-getters
  • President Laurent Gbagbo finished 6 points ahead of rival Alassane Ouattara
  • Incidents in last month's election were too minor to affect the outcome, said the U.N.

(CNN) -- The results of the first round of Ivory Coast's presidential elections last month are legitimate, the United Nations said Friday.

"We just certified the election," said Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the U.N. Operation in the Ivory Coast.

"Despite some minor incidents and anomalies, it was peaceful and in line with international standards," he said, adding that the incidents were too small to affect the outcome.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo finished only slightly ahead of rival Alassane Ouattara with a difference of 6 percentage points. Gbagbo got 38 percent of the vote and Ouattara received 32 percent. Other candidates got the rest of the votes.

Since neither Gbagbo or Ouattara had enough votes to win outright, they will face each other in a November 28 runoff, Toure said.

The United Nations is taking measures to ensure a peaceful second-round elections, said the spokesman.

"We are having consultations with all stakeholders," he said. "We want peaceful polls, open and fair."

Toure expects a high turnout for the runoff. More than 83 percent of eligible voters participated in the first round, he said.

The run-off elections, originally scheduled for November 21, were postponed after Gbagbo asked the Independent Electoral Commission for more time to prepare.

The first round of voting took place amid reports that local rebels were threatening to disrupt the election. The United Nations responded by bolstering its 8,650 troops in the Ivory Coast.

The Ivory Coast's elections had been expected since 2005 but were postponed many times after the country plunged into instability when northern rebels took up arms earlier in the decade.

 
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