Cote D'Ivoire

Contested claims of victory during Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010 presidential election—the first in a decade—triggered widespread post-election violence, in which women were often the first victims.

Cote D'Ivoire

Contested claims of victory during Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010 presidential election—the first in a decade—triggered widespread post-election violence, in which women were often the first victims.

Côte d'Ivoire National Election 2016

2016 National Assembly Elections

Côte d’Ivoire held elections of deputies to the National Assembly in December 2016. The legislative elections, which were conducted in a relatively peaceful environment. But, with a voter participation rate of 34.10 percent, it proved to be much lower than the participation rate of the presidential elections of October 2015.

As during the national elections in 2015, the Plateforme des Organisations de la Société Civile pour l’Observation des Élections en Côte d'Ivoire (POECI), a group of 10 coalitions, networks, and trade unions active in the fields of democratic governance, human rights and the rights of women, conducted a non-partisan independent observation throughout the electoral process. Thus, rigorously trained members of POECI observed voter registration process, the pre-election period and the election day activities, from the opening of the polling stations to the proclamation of results to through the PVT (Parallel Vote Tabulation) methodology. This methodology enabled the deployment of nearly 1,000 citizen observers to monitor the voting process in a random, representative sample of polling stations at the national level. Additionally, nearly 500 observers were deployed in the electoral districts of the communes of Koumassi, Bongouanou and Man and in the sub-prefecture of Bongouanou in a representative way. Few observers reported witnessing or hearing reports of violence against women during any of POECI’s observations. 

Before the Election

POECI deployed 121 national observers and 21 observers in the sub-prefecture of Bongouanou and the communities of Man and Koumassi, who were responsible for observing the pre-election situation on a daily basis through observation and observation grids. These observers reported back regularly on the activities surrounding voter registration, including whether registration processes were being carried out correctly and whether registrants, observers or election officials were being threatened with or experiencing acts of violence.

Overall, the reported levels of violence were extremely low: for example, POECI observers did not observe any incidents of women’s campaigns being stopped, of women candidates being intimidated or attacked, or of threatening or inciting language against women candidates, voters or party supporters in the media or in communities.

As in the 2015 presidential elections, POECI was able to use the data it received about the relative absence of violence against women in the pre-election environment to encourage women to vote. Especially in an environment where women have expressed concerns in the past about their safety should they go to vote, this shows the importance of a close examination of VAW-E: even the lack of data can be very useful in encouraging and supporting the participation of women in the electoral process.

COTE D’IVOIRE: NET DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENROLLMENT RATES FOR WOMEN AND MEN ON THE PROVISIONAL ELECTORAL LIST BY REGION

POECI performed their own analysis of voter registration rates using aged 2014 census data from the National Institute of Statistics (l’Institut National des Statistiques) and the 2016 provisional voters list as provided to political parties and civil society organizations by the Independent National Election Commission (Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante) . From the cross section of these datasets, POECI was able to show the regions in Côte d’Ivoire where registration rates for women were much lower -- or slightly higher -- than expected. 

This chart compares the levels of registration against the expectations as based on previous census data. While low registration rates do not directly suggest that violence was preventing women from registering (in fact, the observed rate of violence was low for both men and women), they can be an indicator that women face additional barriers when compared with men (including lack of identification documents, household duties and fear of repercussions). Additional research would need to be conducted to identify the causes.

COTE D’IVOIRE: NET DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENROLLMENT RATES (BASED ON ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE PERSONS ACCORDING TO CENSUS-BASED PROJECTIONS) FOR WOMEN AND MEN ENTERED ON THE PROVISIONAL LIST OF ELECTORS BY REGION

Côte d'Ivoire 2016 Pre-Election Critical Incidents: Violence at a Rally or Assembly (by Gender)

During the Pre-Election Observation, the observers in Côte d’Ivoire reported only seven critical incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence. This graph shows the gender of the victims and perpetrators that occurred at a rally or assembly. There were no reported incidents in which women were the sole victims or perpetrators of reported incidents of intimidation, harassment.

Election Day

On election day, POECI conducted a systematic national observation, with observers stationed in every department of the country. In addition, POECI deployed observers to nearly every polling station in four constituencies (Koumassi, Man, Bongouanou and the sub-prefecture Bongouanou) where there was increased concern about violence, irregularities or non-acceptance of results.

POECI’s observers in each of the constituencies collected information about the voting and counting processes in their assigned polling stations. Overall, very few incidents of violence were reported. 

Côte d'Ivoire 2016 Election Day Critical Incidents: General Violence (Countrywide)

On Election Day, POECI’s national-level observers in Côte d’Ivoire reported only 27 total incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence. This graph shows the gender of the victims and perpetrators; as well as the breakdown of incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence reported. Of these incidents, the majority of perpetrators were men.

Côte d'Ivoire 2016 Election Day Critical Incidents: General Violence (in Targeted Districts)

POECI observers in the four targeted districts for constituency-level observations reported a total of 19 critical incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence. This graph shows the gender of the perpetrators and victims of these incidents. From this graph, it is easier to see that while men and women experienced incidents of violence at relatively similar levels, more incidents involved women as victims rather than perpetrators, whereas the reverse is true for men.

Côte d'Ivoire 2016 Election Day Critical Incidents: Economic Violence (Countrywide)

On Election Day, POECI’s national-level observers in Côte d’Ivoire reported only 4 critical incidents of economic violence where election materials for a candidate, civil society group or political party were defaced or otherwise damaged. This graph shows the gender of the victims and perpetrators, as well as the number of incidents reported at the national level. In no reported incidents were women the sole perpetrators or victims.

Côte d'Ivoire 2016 Election Day Critical Incidents: Economic Violence (in Targeted Districts)

 

The majority of perpetrators of reported incidents of economic violence in the in the four targeted districts for constituency-level observations were men. In no reported incidents were women the sole perpetrators or victims. This graph shows the gender of the victims and perpetrators, as well as the breakdown of incidents.

About the Observation

POECI deployed 1,000 rigorously trained citizen observers to observe the voting process in a random sample of polling stations at national level (National PVT). To these, 500 observers were deployed in the electoral constituencies of Koumassi, Man, and the sub-prefecture and constituency of Bongouanou in a representative way. This network of polling stations allowed POECI to field 1,500 observers to cover 1,444 polling stations in the 107 departments, the 13 constituencies of the District of Abidjan and the District of Yamoussoukro. Observers received an accreditation from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to monitor the entire voting process: from the start of voting, through the voting process, then to vote counting until the results were announced in the polling stations.

As in the 2015 presidential elections, POECI prioritized and successfully executed a coordinated strategy to achieve a gender balance in its observers; 46% of the total number of observers who participated in POECI’s observation were women. In one of the four targeted constituencies, Koumassi, women comprised 77.6% of the observers.

For more information about this observation, check out POECI'S Facebook page and  reports, available here in French.

NDI Gender, Women and Democracy logo

Electoral violence undermines democratic elections, which are a cornerstone of democratic governance. Violence against women in elections is a particular form of electoral violence, motivated by a desire to prevent women from participating in the electoral process, which sees women attacked for daring to participate in elections. Learn More About Votes Without Violence