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Page last updated at 23:35 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Ivory Coast announces new government

Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro at press conference in Abidjan 23 February
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro called for "peace and calm"

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has announced a new government, including both main opposition parties, after 48 hours of crisis negotiations.

However, several opposition posts remain unfilled.

Mr Soro also said a new electoral commission had been agreed which would be installed on Thursday.

The previous government and commission had been sacked by Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo on 12 February, sparking anger and unrest across the country.

On Monday at least three people were killed in the latest street protests.

Addressing journalists after the announcement, Mr Soro said the opposition Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) and Rally of the Republicans (RDR) would have ministries in the new government.

"I have great hope that in 48 hours the government will have started its work," Mr Soro said.

He added that the independent electoral commission would have a new chairman.

"We are in the process of exiting this crisis and we must encourage it."

"I call on everyone to maintain peace and calm," he said.

However 11 of the 27 ministerial posts remain vacant.

President Gbagbo has rejected the names proposed by several opposition parties.

The mediator in the Ivory Coast political crisis, Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, said the rival Ivorian parties had also agreed to a presidential election in April or May.

Elections were first scheduled to take place in 2005 but have been postponed six times.

Mr Compaore had flown to Ivory Coast to organise mediation talks on Sunday between government officials and opposition representatives.

The two main opposition leaders had initially refused to take part in any new government.

They warned that protests, in which at least seven people have been killed, would continue until the electoral commission was reinstated.

But a compromise was worked out at the mediation talks, with the opposition saying they would accept a new president and four new vice-presidents at the commission so long as the rest of the body remained intact.

There were no reports of large-scale demonstrations on Tuesday and the commercial capital Abidjan was largely quiet.



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