Ivory Coast President Heads for Victory in Disputed Election
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara headed for victory in an election rejected by opposition groups that demanded a transitional government be established to prepare a fresh vote.
Initial results show Ouattara, 78, won 47 of the nation’s 108 districts, and a final tally is expected to be announced later on Monday. The main opposition leaders boycotted the poll, arguing that Ouattara’s bid for a third term is unconstitutional.
The vote has fueled concerns about unrest in the world’s largest cocoa-growing nation. The run-up to the ballot was marred by sporadic violence that the government blamed on opposition parties calling for a civil-disobedience campaign, while at least five people died on Saturday when the vote took place. The authorities deployed about 35,000 security personnel nationwide to secure the election.
The volatile security situation and the opposition’s boycott hampered the country’s ability to hold a “genuinely competitive election,” the joint observer mission of the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa and the Atlanta, Georgia-based Carter Center said in a statement.
“These issues now threaten the acceptance of the results and the country’s cohesion,” they said.
Previous elections in Ivory Coast have spawned violence, including after a presidential vote in 2010, when a dispute over the outcome triggered a conflict that left more than 3,000 people missing or dead. So far, this year’s vote has had little impact on financial markets.
Yields on Ivory Coast’s $2.5 billion of 2032 Eurobonds fell five basis points to 6.19% on Monday, bring the decline to 106 basis points since the beginning of October. Near-month cocoa futures traded 0.8% lower at $2,287 per ton in London.
Opposition parties won’t accept the results of the vote and want a transitional administration to “create the conditions for a fair and transparent presidential election,” opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan told reporters Sunday.
Ouattara is seeking another term after the Constitutional Council ruled on Sept. 14 that he could run even though the country limits the presidency to two terms. While Ivory Coast’s highest court didn’t provide an explanation for its decision, Ouattara had previously said that a new constitution adopted in 2016 wiped his slate clean.
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