Ivory Coast president on track for election win, opposition cry foul


IVORY COAST President Alassane Ouattara edged closer to claiming a landslide election victory, partial tallies showed, though opponents said his bid for a third term was illegal and the results were skewed by an opposition boycott.

The president has been named winner of all constituencies announced so far, most with more than 90 per cent of the vote, after a bitter presidential vote marred by deadly violence.

Two major opposition candidates on the ballot had asked their supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run. Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated.

Ivory Coast’s constitution allows presidents to stand for two terms. Ouattara says the approval of a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate, which the opposition disuptes.

Opposition activists say his decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa less than three months after a military coup in neighbouring Mali.

The Carter Center, which monitored the election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organise a credible vote.

“The electoral process excluded a large number of Ivorian political forces and was boycotted by part of the population in a volatile security environment,” it said in a statement.

The opposition candidates who boycottted the vote – former president Henri Konan Bedie and ex-prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – have said they will not recognise a Ouattara victory.

The country’s commercial capital Abidjan was calm during the election and the days that followed.

Inland, however, more sporadic violence broke out Saturday as youths clashed in opposition strongholds, killing at least five people. Cocoa farmers said they were staying away from their plantations due to insecurity.

The electoral commission has now released about a third of the provisional results and is due to release more later on Monday. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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