Abidjan - Ivorians voted on Sunday in local elections seen
as a trial run for a presidential poll in 2015 amid high tensions as the party
of former president Laurent Gbagbo boycotted the poll.
Voting began Abidjan 's working-class Koumassi district
about half an hour after the official 07:00 (GMT) starting time, with longer
delays reported elsewhere in the west African country's main city and other
Ivory Coast is still recovering from years of unrest which
came to a head when Gbagbo refused to admit defeat in the 2010 presidential
Around 3 000 people died in the ensuing conflict before he
President Alassane Ouattara's government is hoping the
municipal and regional polls will set the foundations for a fresh political
However, the final days of the campaign, which ended on
Friday, were marred by physical clashes and invective.
Moreover, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), which backed
Gbagbo during his 10-year rule (2000-2010) and after his arrest in April 2011,
has dismissed the polls as a sham.
It has refused to take part, just as it boycotted
parliamentary polls at the end of 2011, though a few breakaway activists are
running as independents.
"Let's hope Ivorians learn from the past and stay on
course for a true democracy," said a community leader in the central city
of Bouake, Robert Koulade, after casting his ballot on Sunday.