Côte d‘Ivoire (also known as Ivory Coast) president Alassane Ouattara has claimed victory for a third term in power in the just concluded elections that were boycotted by the opposition
Ouattara who had once promised to pave way for younger politicians garnered 94% of the votes. Two terms in office is the limit set by ivory costs 2016 constitution
The opposition termed Ouattara’s attempt to vie for a third term as unlawful and had urged their followers to stay at home as an act of civil disobedience.
Political catastrophe has hit Ivory Coast since the death in July of Ouattara’s planned replacement, the prime minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly. President Ouattara had been expected to leave office but reneged on his pledge, arguing that the constitution did not prevent him.
The barring of 40 opposition candidates and criticisms from his two main challengers raised tensions in a country where the presence of electoral ferocity appears large.
Thousands have escaped to Liberia, Ghana and Togo in recent weeks, dreading the possibility of the same sort of post-election violence that killed 3,000 people in 2010.
In the approach to Saturday’s vote, remonstrations against Ouattara had grown, predominantly in opposition strongholds. Clashes with competing groups and a influential response by security forces left at least 30 people dead, according to Amnesty International. Five more people were killed on voting day. In a sign of escalating tensions over the vote, Outtara’s two main opponents said their homes had been shot at overnight.
The Carter Center, a US non-governmental organisation that monitored the election, uttered “concerns that the overall context and process did not allow for a genuinely competitive election.”
“The process excluded a number of Ivorian political forces and was hampered by an active boycott by a segment of the population and a volatile security environment,” it added.
The electoral commission said early on Tuesday that Ouattara garnered 94.3% of the vote. Turnout was 53.9%, according to election officials, even though the opposition has said only 10% of Ivorian voters participated.
Former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, a top opponent of Ouattara, said the result was unlawful.
“This was a sham election … marred by many irregularities and a low turnout,” he told reporters on Monday. N’Guessan swore to form an alternative “transitional government”, thickening political tensions with Ouattara’s government.
“The opposition parties and groups announce the creation of a council of national transition,” N’Guessan said. Yet separations within his own party, the Ivorian Popular Front, and among other senior figures in a weakened opposition, has left the plan in uncertainty.
Amidst excavating insecurity across much of west Africa, third-term bids and attempts to revise national constitutions have re-emerged in recent years in Guinea, the Gambia and Ivory Coast. The moves have fuelled disenchantment, mainly among younger generations who pursue superior representation in government, transparency and liberties.
Ouattara, a former rebel front-runner, along with both main opposition figures, the 86-year-old former president, Henri Konan Bédié, and 67-year-old N’Guessan, are among an ageing political class that have upheld their grip of Ivorian politics for years.
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