Pressure grows on Ivory Coast to issue poll result

Wed Dec 1, 2010 10:13am GMT

* France says results must be released today

* Pro-Gbagbo officials tear up results sheet

* Cocoa futures higher in early Wednesday trade

By David Lewis and Loucoumane Coulibaly

ABIDJAN, Dec 1 (Reuters) - International pressure grew on Ivory Coast to release the results of its disputed presidential election on Wednesday after the opposition accused incumbent Laurent Gbagbo's camp of blocking their publication.

Tensions over a poll aimed at stabilising the world's top cocoa grower turned to farce at a news conference late on Tuesday as pro-Gbagbo members of the election commission tore up results even as the body's spokesman tried to read them out.

Challenger Alassane Ouattara's allies have said Gbagbo is preventing publication because he knows he has lost, while the president's supporters say Gbagbo voters suffered widespread intimidation as they tried to cast their ballots in the north, still held by rebels after a 2002-2003 civil war.

"The results must be published today," urged Michele Alliot-Marie, foreign minister of ex-colonial power France of a formal deadline for publication of all preliminary results within three days of Sunday's run-off.   Continued...

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