Posted November 3, 2020 9:29 am by

Ivory Coast opposition forms ‘transitional govt’ after contested vote

Opposition candidate Pascal Affi N’Guessan on Sunday called for a ‘civilian transition’ to end President Ouattara’s 10 years in power © AFP / Issouf SANOGO

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Nov 2 – Ivory Coast’s opposition leaders said Monday they were creating a “transitional government” after boycotting a weekend election in protest over President Alassane Ouattara’s bid for a contested third term.

The move deepened a crisis that erupted in August when Ouattara said he would run again, to the fury of the opposition who called it a constitutional breach and an “electoral coup” in the West African country.

The opposition announcement came as officials were tallying results from Saturday’s election with preliminary count showing Ouattara with a strong lead, as expected after the opposition boycott.

Pre-election clashes killed at least 30 and the opposition protests stoked fears of a repeat of the 2010-2011 crisis when 3,000 people died after then-president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat by Ouattara.

“The opposition parties and groups announce the creation of a council of national transition,” Pascal Affi N’Guessan told reporters. “This council’s mission will be to… create a transitional government within the next few hours.”

“The national transition council’s mission will be to prepare the framework for a fair, transparent and inclusive presidential election,” N’Guessan said.

“Keeping Mr Ouattara as head of state could lead to civil war,” he added.

There was no immediate response from the government over the opposition’s latest announcement.

Abidjan streets were mostly deserted late Monday night.

Ivory Coast opposition forms ‘transitional govt’ after contested vote

Ivory Coast’s incumbent President Alassane Ouattara announced he would run again in August © AFP / Issouf SANOGO

Activists and residents said shots or small detonations were fired outside the homes of two opposition leaders in the city, though no one was injured.

Opposition figures had already rejected Saturday’s ballot as a failure and called for a “civilian transition” from Ouattara, provoking a warning from his ruling party against trying to stir up unrest.

N’Guessan said the transitional council would be led by opposition veteran Henri Konan Bedie, 86, a former president and long-term adversary of Ouattara.

A former IMF economist, the Ivorian leader is praised by supporters for bringing infrastructure projects and economic growth after a decade of instability in the world’s top cocoa producer.

But the anger sparked by his third term has revived memories of past Ivorian feuds with roots even before a 2002 civil war split the country in two.

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