Ivory Coast

  1. Ivory Coast's opposition calls for vote delay

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    Opposition parties in Ivory Coast want the electoral body to postpone legislative elections due to be held on 6 March as they say they need more time to prepare for them.

    Presidential elections held last October were boycotted by the opposition as they were angered that President Alassane Ouattara, who won the vote, was standing for a third term.

    But the different parties want to participate in the parliamentary vote - and say in previous years they had more time to get ready.

    The campaign season is due to start on 26 February and run until 4 March.

    One official from former President Laurent Gbagbo’s party suggested that instead of postponing the election day, the deadline for the submission of candidates be extended.

    However, the election commission president said that unless changes were approved through an official process, his institution was committed to follow the dates as planned.

  2. Ivory Coast's Ouattara appoints former rival to cabinet

    Lalla Sy

    Bilingual reporter, Abijdan

    Kouadio Konan Bertin
    Image caption: Kouadio Konan Bertin was an independent candidate in the election

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara has reshuffled his cabinet a day after being sworn in for a controversial third term.

    He has appointed former presidential candidate, Kouadio Konan Bertin, to be in charge of the newly created ministry of reconciliation.

    Mr Bertin finished second in the presidential election held on 31 October, garnering 1.66% of the votes.

    In his inauguration speech, President Ouattara insisted that the reconciliation process - following a fallout in the election that was boycotted by the opposition - would not be used to encourage impunity.

  3. Ouattara sworn in for controversial third term

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    Alassane Ouattara at the swearing-in ceremony

    Heads of states from Benin, Togo and the Ghana watched as Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara took the oath of office on Monday for the third time, in the midst of a political crisis.

    Last month, he won a controversial third term in office in an election boycotted by the opposition.

    He addressed the political situation in his speech, announcing that he was instructing the prime minister to organise discussions with political parties before legislative elections due early next year.

    The Ivorian president then promised to create a ministry of social cohesion as the country is still divided by the recent electoral process.

    He called on the opposition to seize the opportunity to help ease the tense political climate to enable dialogue.

    President Ouattara declared that education, health and youth unemployment were his major priorities. He also said that the country will receive its first Covid-19 vaccines in April next year.

  4. Ivorian opposition leader Bédié calls for dialogue

    Ivory Coast's opposition leader and former president, Henri Konan Bédié, has called for inclusive dialogue with the government after a disputed election.

    President Alassane Ouattara was re-elected in October for a controversial third term, sparking political violence. He is scheduled to be sworn in later this week.

    The opposition leader said the proposed talks must be supervised by "credible international organisations like the UN".

    He also called for the release of all people who were arrested in protests held before and after the elections.

    Ivorian opposition figures like Pascal Affi N’guessan and Maurice Kacou Guikahue are still in detention.

    Mr Bédié urged Ivorians to prepare for demonstrations intended to call for peace in the country. He asked the police and army to offer security to demonstrators.

  5. Laurent Gbagbo to return to Ivory Coast 'next month'

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Laurent Gbagbo in 2010
    Image caption: The exiled former president now has regular and diplomatic passports

    The former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, has been issued an Ivorian passport, enabling him to return home from exile.

    He has been living in Belgium since he was acquitted last year of war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

    Mr Gbagbo, who was given regular and diplomatic passports, says he will return to Ivory Coast this month.

    It is not clear what he will do once he gets home, but he has been a vocal critic of President Alassane Ouattara, who was recently elected for a controversial third term, sparking political violence.

  6. Ivorian opposition figure in hospital

    Ivorian opposition figure Pascal Affi N'guessan
    Image caption: Pascal Affi N'guessan was arrested after President Alassane Ouattara's re-election

    Ivorian opposition figure Pascal Affi N'guessan, who was in detention, has been taken to a hospital in the country's main city, Abidjan.

    The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) leader and spokesperson was spotted at the hospital on Monday night by residents, according to local media.

    There were guards outside his hospital room, a resident who was quoted by Notre Voie newspaper said.

    It is unclear what is ailing the opposition figure.

    Mr N'guessan was arrested early last month after President Alassane Ouattara's re-election.

    He was then held at a secret detention facility.

  7. Amnesty urges release of Ivory Coast opposition leader

    Pascal Affi N"Guessan addresses journalists in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 01 November 2020.
    Image caption: Pascal Affi N'Guessan and others boycotted last month's presidential election

    Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Ivorian opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan and others who were arrested after the constitutional court confirmed President Alassane Ouattara’s re-election.

    Mr N’Guessan is facing charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's controversial third-term victory, and announcing the establishment of a parallel government.

    Amnesty also said numerous human rights abuses were committed before and after the electoral period, including attacks on demonstrators by people armed with machetes and guns.

    President Ouattara last week held talks with his main rival, Henri Konan Bédié, in the commercial hub of Abidjan to make peace following the disputed election.

    After the meeting the opposition said no dialogue would proceed unless all those arrested over election protests are freed.

    Officially 85 people died while 484 were wounded in the electoral crisis.

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  8. Ivorian rivals 'to make peace' amid post-election crisis

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abijdan

    Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara (R) speaks with Henri Konan Bedie (L), in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 11 November 2020.

    Ivory Coast's President, Alassane Ouattara, and his main rival, Henri Konan Bédié, said they have decided to make peace in the country after weeks of violence over a disputed presidential election.

    The two men said they would keep talking following a meeting in the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Wednesday which they described as an ice-breaker.

    The government says 85 people have been killed in violence connected with the election in which Mr Ouattara won a controversial third term.

    A number of opposition leaders have been arrested after denouncing the poll and setting up a rival administration.

    Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara (C-R) meets with Henri Konan Bedie (C-L)

    President Ouattara's first words to journalists after the meeting were that “trust has been rebuilt”.

    But there were no handshakes in front of the cameras.

    Mr Bedie’s party, the PDCI, had previously insisted on several preconditions before the meeting - including removal of security blockades on the residences of opposition leaders and cessation of legal proceedings against them.

    The opposition does not recognise the results of the 31 October presidential election.

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  9. More post-election clashes in Ivory Coast

    Women walk past burning car during protests
    Image caption: Opposition supporters have been protesting against the president's re-election

    There are reports of more post-election clashes in Ivory Coast following President Alassane Ouattara's re-election for a controversial third term.

    Three people were killed and dozens injured on Tuesday in an opposition stronghold according to local authorities quoted by news agencies.

    The clashes were reported in the south-central town of M’Batto seen as loyal to opposition candidate Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who was arrested on Friday.

    Mr N’Guessan is facing charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's re-election and announcing the establishment of a parallel government.

    President Ouattara had invited his rival, former President Henri Konan Bédié, for talks following violence.

    Mr Bédié is yet to respond to the invitation.

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  10. Ivory Coast president invites rival for talks on crisis

    Alassane Ouattara supporters at a rally in  Abidjan on October 17, 2020.
    Image caption: Turnout for the election was put at almost 54%

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara has invited his rival, former President Henri Konan Bédié, for talks following violence sparked by his controversial third-term win.

    Opposition leaders boycotted last month's vote and vowed to set up a transitional government that would organise fresh elections.

    They said it was illegal for Mr Ouattara to stand for a third term as it broke rules on term limits, but supporters of the president say a constitutional change in 2016 means his first term effectively did not count.

    On Monday the constitutional court confirmed Mr Ouattara's win. He received 94.27% of votes. No appeal against the presidential election is now possible, according to Ivorian law.

    President Ouattara invited Mr Bédié to a "meeting in the next few days for a open and sincere dialogue to help to restore confidence", the AFP news agency reports.

    "I would like to reaffirm my availability, today like yesterday, for a sincere and constructive dialogue with the opposition, while respecting the constitutional order," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

    Several opposition figures including former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan face charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's re-election.

    At least 40 people have been killed in election-related clashes since August.

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  11. Thousands flee Ivory Coast after controversial election

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    An Election worker starts the counting of the ballots after voting closed in the first round of the presidential elections in Abidjan
    Image caption: The opposition boycotted the presidential poll

    The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) says 3,600 people have fled into Liberia from Ivory Coast fearing post-election violence.

    The UNHCR said numbers had surged following the 31 October presidential poll.

    Final results issued on Monday gave the incumbent Alassane Ouattara, who ran for a controversial third term, more than 94% of the vote.

    That victory has been confirmed by the constitutional court.

    The UN says Liberia, which is still recovering from a series of civil wars, is not economically capable of hosting the refugees.

    Ivorian opposition leaders are facing criminal charges after denouncing the poll and setting up a rival administration.

  12. Former Ivorian rebel leader asks army to intervene

    Ivory Coast security forces members surround the residence of former Ivory Coast President Henri Konan Bedie, president of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast  in Abidjan, Ivory Coast November 3, 2020.
    Image caption: Security forces have surrounded the homes of opposition leaders

    An exiled former rebel leader and prime minister, Guillaume Soro, has urged Ivory Coast's army to intervene following Saturday's disputed presidential election.

    Mr Soro issued a statement on social media calling on troops to restore constitutional order.

    He was barred from contesting in the election because of a conviction earlier this year for corruption.

    The Ivorian opposition boycotted the election, allowing President Alassane Ouattara to win a third term with more than 90% of the vote.

    There are fears the disputed election could to plunge the country into violence.

    Security forces have already surrounded the homes of the two main opposition candidates Henri Konan Bédié and Pascal Affi N'Guessan.

    The duo had announced the creation of a rival administration.

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  13. Pressure mounts on Ivorian opposition after poll boycott

    BBC World Service

    Supporters cheer as Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara speaks at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium on August 22, 2020 in Abidjan
    Image caption: President Alassane Ouattara won the elections with 94% of the votes

    The UN, the African Union and the West African bloc, Ecowas, have urged the opposition in Ivory Coast to respect constitutional order after it rejected President Alassane Ouattara's re-election and vowed to set up a transitional government.

    A joint statement has called on all parties to exercise dialogue and restraint.

    Earlier, the Ivorian government accused the opposition of sedition and asked the public prosecutor to bring those involved to justice.

    Police have surrounded the house of the opposition leader, Henri Konan Bédié, firing tear gas at his supporters.

    The opposition accuses Mr Ouattara of an electoral coup.

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  14. Ivory Coast opposition accused of plotting against the state

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The authorities in Ivory Coast have accused the opposition of plotting against the state after it announced it was setting up a transitional government following a disputed presidential poll.

    Justice Minister Sansan Kambile said the government had asked the public prosecutor to bring those involved to justice.

    He accused the opposition of assault following violent clashes during the election period.

    The opposition has accused President Alassana Ouattara, who has won a third term in office, of an electoral coup.

    The European Union and United Nations say they are deeply concerned about escalating tensions in the country, where thousands have fled their homes fearing further unrest.

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  15. EU 'deeply concerned' about tensions in Ivory Coast

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Electoral commission officials check the voter's roll as they count votes at a polling station in Abidjan on October 31, 2020, after Ivory Coast's presidential election.
    Image caption: The votes were counted at the end of last month

    The European Union says it is deeply concerned about tensions in Ivory Coast following the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara for a third term.

    The EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said provocations and incitements to hatred were continuing, and that deaths needed to be independently investigated.

    The electoral commission said Mr Ouattara won 94% of the vote, which was boycotted by the opposition. Turnout was 54%.

    The opposition says it is creating a transitional government, describing Mr Ouattara's third term run as an electoral coup.

    About 40 people were killed during campaigning and on election day.

  16. Ivory Coast's Ouattara re-elected for third term

    BBC World Service

    Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara speaks next to his wife Dominique in Abidjan, Ivory Coast October 31, 2020.
    Image caption: President Alassane Ouattara ran for a third term after his preferred successor died

    The electoral commission in Ivory Coast says President Alassane Ouattara has won a third term, securing just over 94% of the votes in Saturday's election, that the opposition boycotted.

    Turnout was put at almost 54%.

    The result has to be confirmed by the Constitutional Council.

    On Monday, the Ivorian opposition said it was creating a transitional government.

    Mr Ouattara controversially announced he was running again after his party's chosen successor died suddenly in July. The opposition called it an electoral coup.

    Some 30 people were killed during campaigning and on election day.