Supporter Tears Up Ivory Coast Run-off Results
A supporter of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has prevented the electoral commission from releasing the first results from Sunday's run-off. Damana Adia Pickass, who represents the president in the commission, tore up the results as the body's spokesman was on the verge of announcing them to awaiting journalists. He said the results had not been signed off - a charge denied by the spokesman. Security forces then forced journalists to leave the commission's headquarters. The BBC's John James in the main city Abidjan says it was a moment of drama that illustrates the tension in the country as rumours circulate alongside unofficial results. There is now a heavy security presence on the streets of the city, he says. Supporters of opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara have accused President Gbagbo of trying to "confiscate power" by blocking the announcement. Mr Gbagbo's supporters, however, say they will refuse to recognise the results from the north, where Mr Ouattara is popular and which remains under the control of former rebels, who seized the region in 2002. The presidential elections, the first in 10 years, are intended to reunify the country. International observers have described Sunday's elections as generally fair. Both sides have accused each other of intimidation and fraud and at least three people were killed on Sunday. The election commission had said it was to start announcing the rest of the results on Tuesday morning. But when the results were not released on Tuesday, Mr Ouattara's spokesperson said the delay would "drive the country once again into chaos". "There is an attempt to prevent the electoral commission from declaring the results. The officials from Laurent Gbagbo's camp have put up resistance," Albert Mabri Toikeusse said. The head of Mr Gbagbo's party said they had the right to contest the vote in three regions in the north. "There were results that were forced out of the population; these were results that are totally false, which are the fruit of stuffed ballot boxes, of fraudulent results sheets," Pascal Affi N'Guessan said. The result is expected to be extremely close - testament to the fact these are the first open democratic elections the country has seen in 50 years since independence. The two candidates represent the two sides of the north-south divide that exists religiously, culturally and administratively, with the northern half still controlled in part by the soldiers who took part in the 2002 rebellion, our reporter says. The elections have been cancelled six times in the past five years.