International News

Côte d'Ivoire holds presidential elections in a very tense atmosphere

Eight years after the armed rebellion that shattered the country, Côte d'Ivoire has finally held its first presidential elections for a decade. The second round was a run-off between Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent for the last ten years, and the ex-prime minister and the favourite among the population in the north of the country, Alassane Ouattara.

The elections, which had been postponed six times, were one of the points covered by the political agreements signed in Ouagadougou in 2007, aimed at promoting unity. They are also considered an important step forward in the peace process to overcome the political and social instability that has dogged Côte d'Ivoire in recent years, according to the seminar organised by the ICIP in the country's economic capital, Abidjan, in late September. International observers certified that as a whole, the elections were fair.

However, the delay and confusion in the proclamation results has obstructed what was a unique opportunity to move forward towards reconciliation. The victor was the opposition candidate Ouattara, with 54% of the votes, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). However, the IEC announced the results too late, which increased the tension and confrontations between the two sides. The Constitutional Court will have the final word.

Ouattara accuses Gbagbo of wanting to steal the elections; the president's supporters allege that fraud was committed in the four northern provinces and have lodged an appeal. Mistrust aggravates the division that has prevailed in Côte d'Ivoire since 2002, with a loyalist south and a north controlled by the ex-rebels of the Forces Nouvelles.

For the latest news on the presidential elections in Côte d'Ivoire:

Report on the seminar "Conditions pour la consolidation de la paix en Côte d'Ivoire", Abidjan, September 2010: