Ivory Coast heads to presidential election

Incumbent president of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara, is seeking another term in office amid boycotts from opponents and concerns that voter turnouts will be low

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Incumbent Ivory Coast President Alassan Ouattara (R) waves during a performance of the group Magic System during a campaign rally on October 23, 2015 in Abidjan.

Ivory Coast is heading for a presidential election on Sunday, the Incumbent leader Alassane Ouattara, among others is campaigning for another term in office.

Voting at polling stations are expected to start at 0700 GMT and end at 1700 GMT. The preliminary results are to be announced early in this week. 

More than six million registered voters are expected to cast their votes, but with the past conflict which escalated during the last election, there are concerns that voter turnouts will be low.  

"We'll be far, very far from the 80 percent participation at the election in 2010," one observer warned.

Incumbent Ouattara, 73, and a top economist is seeking a solid first-round win. Ouattara has campaigned on looking for a path to strengthen the Ivory Coast's economy and securing stability following years of violence.

During his campaign, Ouattara has pledged that, "For the next five years, we will strengthen our institutions to consolidate peace," in front of thousands of supporters in Abidjan, the economic capital.

Vote rigging allegations

The main opposition candidate to Ouattara is the Former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who is running on behalf of the Ivorian Popular Front.

Another presidential candidate, Charles Konan Banny has already dropped out of the running on Friday complaining about "grave irregularities" in the arrangements of the vote.   

Former Foreign Minister Amara Essy had also withdrawn, along with former national assembly president Mamadou Koulibaly, who condemned the vote as "rigged".

A former foreign minister Amara Essy alongside former national assembly president Mamadou Koulibaly, also withdrew from running criticizing the vote as “rigged”.

Incumbent Ouattara has also been criticized by Amnesty International for detaining opponents ahead of the election.

The government dismissed oppositions boycott as a bid to drop out of an election they were tipped to lose.  

In Yopougon, a working class pro-Gbagbo district of Abidjan, "For us, October 25 is a day of mourning in Yopougon," said hairdresser Daniel, adding that he would not be voting on Sunday.

He also said, "Going to vote would be like violating the constitution myself."

Pro-Ouattara neighbourhood of Adobo were cheering on Ouattara as their champion known as “Ado”. 

"Ado will build roads, he's going to bring work for young people," said 19-year-old Ousmane.

In 2010, violence erupted in Ivory Coast following then president Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat in the election.

Around 3,000 people died during the violence, which pitted Ouattara against former leader Laurent Gbagbo.    

Ouattara was inaugurated in 2011, after Gbagbo was eventually ousted by French-backed pro-Ouattara forces and is now detained in a Dutch jail. He would be facing trial next month at the International Criminal Court in Hague for war crimes. 


TRTWorld and agencies