Tag Archives: Alassane

Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara files candidacy for elections – calls for peace

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Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called for peace after clashes that have claimed at least eight lives as he filed his candidacy on Monday for elections less than three months away.

Clashes broke out after Ouattara, who initially said he would not stand again, changed his mind following the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, his anointed successor.

“I know I can count on all my fellow citizens to ensure that this election is peaceful and that Ivorians can make their choice in peace, without violence,” Ouattara said as he left the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) in Abidjan, flanked by most members of the government.

“We will submit to the verdict of our citizens. The citizens will remember our record, which is an exceptional record over the past nine years… I have a vision of stability, security, peace and happiness for Ivorians,” he said.

The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but 78-year-old Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock, allowing him to seek a third.

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Six people were killed and about 100 were injured in demonstrations that erupted after Ouattara announced on August 6 that he would seek re-election following Gon Coulibaly’s death in July from a heart attack.

At least two more were killed at the weekend in clashes at Divo, 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Abidjan, after Ouattara formally accepted his nomination by the ruling RHDP party.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wearing a protective mask attends a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the country Independance from France on August 7, 2020 at the presidential palace in Abidjan. SIA KAMBOU / AFP.

Opposition and civil society groups say Outtara’s move to stand again in the October 31 vote amounts to a “coup”.

The world’s top cocoa grower remains scarred by a brief civil war that erupted after 2010 elections, when then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede to the victor, Ouattara. Months of violence claimed around 3,000 lives.

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– Gbabgo barred –

Challengers to the incumbent include 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie for the main opposition party PDCI.

Two former ministers and Ouattara allies, ex-foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and ex-education minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri, are also running.

But election officials have rejected appeals by Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to be allowed to compete.

Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.

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His return to Ivory Coast would be sensitive before the presidential election. His Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party urged him to throw his hat in the electoral ring.

Soro, a former rebel leader, has been forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home.

He was a leader in a 2002 revolt that sliced the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south and triggered years of unrest.

He was once an ally of Ouattara, helping him to power during the post-election crisis in 2010. The two eventually fell out.


#Newsworthy…

Feud as Ivory Coast’s leader, Alassane seeks third term.

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Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term in October’s presidential election triggered outrage on Friday among opposition and civil society groups, who labelled it a “coup” that risked tipping the country into chaos.

Ouattara, in power since 2010, said in March that he would not run for re-election, which the opposition has strongly maintained he was unable to do anyway because the constitution limits presidents to two terms.

But the race was turned on its head by the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly — seen as Ouattara’s anointed successor — from a heart attack in July.

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The shock news ramped up the volatility for the tense October 31 vote, which takes place in the shadow cast by political violence following 2010’s election in which around 3,000 people died.

Ouattara said on Thursday that he would run after all, citing “a case of force majeure” after the death of his ruling RHDP party’s candidate Coulibaly “left a void”.

The constitution limits presidents to two five-year terms.

But a new constitution was adopted in 2016, which Ouattara and his supporters argue reset the clock, allowing him to run again — an interpretation strongly contested by the opposition.

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Assoa Adou, the general secretary of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), one of the country’s two main opposition parties, said: “Alassane Ouattara cannot in any case stand in the election. His own experts have said so.”

A picture taken on August 5, 2019 shows Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara applauding during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Abidjan. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

‘Organised state coup’
N’Goran Djedri of the West African country’s largest opposition party PDCI said Ouattara “is not above the law”.

“The people of Ivory Coast must demand the exact application of the 2016 constitution, which stipulates in article 183 that the legislation currently in force remains applicable.”

Moussa Toure, the communications director of presidential candidate and former prime minister Guillaume Soro, said: “We are facing an organised state coup in the sense that Mr Ouattara’s plan constitutes a serious violation” of the constitution.

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“His decision to run for a third term takes us back 10 years and risks plunging Ivory Coast back into a period of fear, division and chaos,” Toure added.

It was not just opposition parties expressing outrage.

“By succumbing to the temptation of political eternity, you risk driving Ivory Coast into chaos,” popular Ivorian singer Meiway said on social media. “Are you to sacrifice everything you have built to put yourself on the wrong side of history?”

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wearing a protective mask attends a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the country Independance from France on August 7, 2020 at the presidential palace in Abidjan.
SIA KAMBOU / AFP

Satirical writer Gauz said the “old are not wise, they act like they’re in a playground,” referring to both 78-year-old Ouattara and his arch-foe and biggest rival, 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie of the PDCI.

“It is despairing for the youth who represent four fifths of the Ivorian population,” Gauz added.

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Supporters express ‘immense joy’
The leaders of Ouattara’s ruling RHDP did not respond to requests to comment on Friday.

But Ouattara did lead a 15-minute ceremony at the presidential palace on Friday marking the 60th anniversary of Ivory Coast’s independence, after the celebrations were scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Policemen beat a demonstrator during a rally of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters to protest against his absence on the presidential candidates electoral list, near the electoral commission headquarters on boulevard Latrille in Cocody district of Abidjan on August 6, 2020. SIA KAMBOU / AFP

After his announcement on Thursday, RHDP supporters celebrated in the economic capital Abidjan, the second-largest city of Bouake and Ouattara’s stronghold of Korhogo, according to Media journalists and residents.

“It is an immense joy which animates us. We are going to make short work of our adversaries” in the election, said Siaka Sylla, an RHDP youth leader in Bouake.

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The election comes after a low-level civil war and political turmoil that erupted in 2011 when former strongman Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara after losing elections. The ensuing unrest claimed some 3,000 lives.

Besides Ouattara and Bedie, the October election is also being contested by Gbagbo’s former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, former foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and ex-education minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri

Former rebel chief Soro is also running but he lives in self-imposed exile in France, facing a long list of legal problems.

Gbagbo, freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity over the 2010-2011 bloodshed, has applied for a passport so that he can return home for the election.


#Newsworthy…