ATCI suspends SMS during presidential election to ‘prevent rioting’

2 Nov 2010

Cote d’Ivoire telecoms regulator L’Agence des Telecommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ATCI) has reportedly suspended text messages between 5pm on Sunday 31 October and Tuesday 2 November, in a bid to avoid the risk of coordinated rioting during the West African country’s first presidential election since 2000. Veteran politician Laurent Gbagbo, who was elected president in 2000 for a five-year mandate, was given a seventh successive year in power in November 2006 under a United Nations plan to find lasting peace. The opposition made it clear that they did not want him back in office, but a UN Security Council resolution allowed him to keep his job for an additional year. Since then, planned presidential elections have been postponed several times, most recently in November 2009. The army has closed all land borders until today, reinforcing sea ports and airports with strict security measures. If no political party wins the election outright, a second round of votes will be held on 28 November.