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Ivory Coast president on track to win election, opposition cries foul

Alassane Ouattara has been named winner of all 108 constituencies, most with more than 90% of the vote, after a bitter presidential vote marred by deadly violence.

By: Reuters | Abidjan | November 3, 2020 2:59:50 pm
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara casts his vote at a polling station during presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Tens of thousands of security forces deployed across Ivory Coast on Saturday as the leading opposition parties boycotted the election, calling President Ouattara's bid for a third term illegal. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara edged closer to claiming a landslide election victory, total provisional tallies showed on Monday, though opponents said his bid for a third term was illegal and the results were skewed by an opposition boycott.

The president has been named winner of all 108 constituencies, most with more than 90% of the vote, after a bitter presidential vote marred by deadly violence.

Two major opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run. Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated.

The data from the electoral commission showed turnout at 57%.

Ivory Coast’s constitution allows presidents to stand for two terms. Ouattara says the approval of a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate, which the opposition disputes.

Opposition activists say his decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa less than three months after a military coup in neighbouring Mali.

The Carter Center, which monitored the election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organise a credible vote.

“The electoral process excluded a large number of Ivorian political forces and was boycotted by part of the population in a volatile security environment,” it said in a statement.

The opposition candidates who boycotted the vote – former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – have said they will not recognise a Ouattara victory.

In a joint statement on Monday evening, they announced the creation of a transitional council presided by Bedie.

“The council will have a mission to prepare the framework for a credible and transparent presidential election. It will name a government in the coming hours,” N’Guessan said in a news conference.

On Monday, gunshots were heard in the upmarket Cocody neighbourhood of Abidjan, the commercial capital, shattering the tense calm that had prevailed through election day and the day after, witnesses said.

Later, on Twitter, Bedie said his Cocody home had been among those of opposition members that had been attacked by heavy weapon fire, but gave no details.

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