2016 National Assembly Elections
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
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.
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.
About the Observation
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.