Ivory Coast government seeks end to violence ahead of October election

IVORY Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s government has reached out to his main opponents and religious leaders to intervene and ease tensions following his decision to bid for a third term in next month’s election.

Ouattara made his appeal to religious leaders during a tour of the east of the country. A source in Ouattara’s office told Reuters that informal discussions have been held with political leaders.

The world’s top cocoa-producing nation has seen a spate of violent protests, with a least 10 killed and over a hundred wounded in clashes between protesters and police since Ouattara announced his bid in August.

Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko was appointed as Prime Minister by Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara. Photo: UNMIL/Staton Winter

The election is seen as the greatest test yet for stability since a brief civil war killed about 3,000 people following a disputed election in 2010 won by Ouattara.

Ouattara plans to run in the October 31 election after the sudden death of his handpicked successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly in July.

His opponents say the constitution forbids him because he has already had two terms. The Ivory Coast Constitutional Council is set to rule on his eligibility, and those of other candidates next week.

Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko is expected to meet youth leaders of the main opposition parties next week to restart discussions, and end street violence before the election, a government statement said. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.