Ivory Coast suspended its voter registration process indefinitely on Thursday because of rising tensions, the government said, casting doubt on when the long delayed presidential election would take place.
"The prime minister informs all the structures and all the services of the state implicated in this operation that the (voter list) contestation period ... is suspended until further notice," Government Secretary General Felix Tyeoulou said in a statement.
This was "following consultations concerning the tensions created by the process of validating the provisional voter list," he said.
The elections are badly needed to end years of instability and stalemate following a 2002-3 war that cut the world's top cocoa grower in two, leaving the north in the hands of rebels.
They have been repeatedly postponed since 2005 but had been scheduled for the end of this month or early next, a deadline that has seemed impossible since a spat erupted between President Laurent Gbagbo and the electoral commission over names on the electoral register.
The process of registering voters has been tortuous and fraught with disputes over Ivorian nationality and who is eligible to vote -- explosive issues in a country that went to war over them. Rioters burned down a government building in rebel-held western Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
Under a peace deal signed in 2007, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, a former rebel, has the power to intervene in the electoral process or even halt it.
ReutersLast Mod: 12 Şubat 2010, 08:39