ABIDJAN, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Cote d'Ivoire is to hold the long-awaited presidential election on Nov. 29, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro announced on Thursday.
Soro, who is also the leader of the former rebel New Forces (FN), made the announcement after a meeting of the Council of Ministers at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan.
"The electoral college of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire sets Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009 in view of holding the presidential election of the Republic," Soro said in a decree adopted by the Council of Ministers.
"The vote will be opened at 07:00 (0700 GMT) and closed at 17:00 (1700 GMT)," the prime minister said, describing the newly fixed election date as "realistic."
The government has made all the arrangements to ensure that the polls will be conducted in "serenity and calm," while working with the Independent Electoral Commission with the backing of financial means to make the vote a good operation, he added.
The polls have never taken place since 2005, at the end of a civil war splitting the leading cocoa and diamond exporter in West Africa after a botched coup attempt by the FN in 2002.
A 8,000-strong United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire is still deployed in the country to maintain peace and order.
Soro was named prime minister by President Laurent Gbagbo under a peace deal signed in March 2007. But differences remained over the disarmament and voter identification. The country last postponed the vote on Nov. 30, 2008.