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30.07.2004 General News

Ivorian group demonstrates on eligibility article in Constitution

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Accra, July 30, GNA - A pro-government Ivorian group calling itself the Movement for the Defence of Institutions of the Republic on Friday staged a demonstration at the venue of the Mini Summit on Cote d'Ivoire saying their concern was on attempts to change the eligibility article in that country's Constitution.

Ms Genevieve Bro Grede, President of the Group, said a study of the Constitutions of several African countries showed that one the eligibility criteria for contesting for the position of President was citizenship.

They were, therefore, against calls to change the eligibility criterion, which was one of the knotty points facing facilitators at the Mini Summit being co-hosted by President John Agyekum Kufuor and UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan.

She said the Constitution promulgated in August 2000 was adopted by about 86 per cent of voters in a referendum.

She described the Constitution as sacred because it was approved by a referendum, adding that changing the article on eligibility without putting it to the vote was unacceptable.

The Summit, which opened on Thursday to find a peaceful solution to the Ivorian crisis, has travelled into a second day, as facilitators continue to work to reach a consensus between the various parties. President Kufuor in his opening statement called on various parties to forge a consensus to move the Linas-Marcousis Accord forward.

They should make the necessary compromises to move the peace process forward, President Kufuor, who is the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said.

The Summit dubbed ACCRA III is to encourage all the parties to the conflict to implement fully the Linas-Marcoussis and ACCRA II Accords to facilitate the conduct of free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Cote d'Ivoire in October 2005.

Termed the "last chance" the Summit is a follow-up to the Mini Summit held in Addis Ababa on July 6 during the Third Session of the African Union (AU).

The Cote d'Ivoire's crisis erupted on September 19, 2002 when soldiers mutinied and it turned into a coup attempt. This has effectively split the country into two with the rebels taking control of the northern part of the country.

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