ICoast prez sacks govt

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on state television yesterday sacked the government and dismissed the electoral commission because of a crisis sparked by alleged fraud by the commission’s head.

The move throws into doubt the electoral and reconciliation process in the divided country, where elections have been delayed six times since Gbagbo’s mandate ran out in 2005.

Gbagbo called on former rebel New Forces leader and current Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to form a

new government on February 15 and decide on a new “format” for the Independent Electoral Commission. Gbagbo accused the CEI’s head, Robert Beugre Mambe, of having “carried out an illegal operation aimed at obtaining the fraudulent inscription of 429,030 people on the electoral list.” “Just as we thought we had completed our efforts to have clean elections, we see that in reality the peace process... is taken hostage by political parties,” Gbagbo said. “I ask the prime minister to propose to me within seven days fthe format of a new credible Independent Electoral Commission which will organise fair and transparent elections,” he said.