ballot box.jpgMillions of Ivorians had their first chance in a decade to choose a president when the country held elections on Sunday.

 

Observers said the long-anticipated vote was proceeding peacefully.

 
The election in the world’s top cocoa-grower is aimed at reuniting a nation split by a 2002-2003 civil war that has forced six postponements of election dates.

Incumbent President, Laurent Gbagbo’s main rivals are Henri Konan Bedie, a former president ousted in a 1999 coup, and Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister and IMF official.

 

In another election also held on Sunday, Tanzanians voted peacefully in a presidential election that is expected to give President Jakaya Kikwete another five-year term in east Africa’s second largest economy.

 

International observers said the poll was well-organised and well-conducted.

 

Tanzania, a country with 40.7 million people, is Africa’s third biggest gold producer.

 

The country also exports coffee and is a popular tourist destination.

 

There were 52,000 polling stations throughout Tanzania and the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar, which was also electing a new president.

 

In Niger, voters turned out on Sunday for a referendum on a new constitution intended to pave way for civilian rule.

 

The vote is the first in a series of elections due to lead to a swearing-in of a new civilian leader by April next year, replacing the leaders of February’s coup against former president Mamadou Tandja.

 

Preliminary results are expected later this week.