Ivory Coast

  1. One dead after Ivorian police open fire at protesters

    BBC World Service

    People flee while demonstrators are dispersed in the Cocody district of Abidjan on October 19, 2020

    One person is reported to have been killed and several injured in Ivory Coast after security forces opened fire during an opposition protest ahead of the controversial presidential election.

    Crowds of predominantly young people had set up roadblocks in the south-eastern town of Bonoua, near the main city of Abidjan, in protest at President Alassane Outtara's decision to stand for a third term at the end of October, which critics say violates the country's constitution.

    More than 12 people have died since August in clashes related to the election.

    Mr Outtara's two main challengers, former President Henri Konan Bédié and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan, say they will boycott the poll, and have called on their supporters to prevent it going ahead.

  2. Presidential rivals boycott Ivory Coast poll

    Alassane Ouattara, Henri Konan Bédié, Pascal Affi N'Guessan.
    Image caption: From left to right: Alassane Ouattara Henri Konan Bédié, Pascal Affi N'Guessan

    The two main challengers to Ivory Coast's President Alassana Ouattara in this month's election have announced they are boycotting the poll.

    At a joint news conference, the former head of state, Henri Konan Bédié, and the former prime minister, Pascal Affi N'Guessan, called on their supporters to block what they described as an electoral coup.

    Mr Ouattara is standing for a third term on 31 October, which his opponents say is illegal.

    Their declaration - on the first official day of campaigning - has raised fears of major political unrest.

    Electoral violence when President Ouattara first took office in 2010 led to 3,000 deaths and half a million displaced.

    The only other opposition candidate - after several others were disqualified - is the former MP Kouadio Konan Bertin.

  3. Campaigning begins for Ivory Coast's presidential race

    BBC World Service

    Residents wait during the distribution of the voting cards ahead of the October 31 presidential election in Abidjan, Ivory Coast October 14, 2020.
    Image caption: Ivorians have been collecting voters cards ahead of the election

    Campaigning begins on Thursday in Ivory Coast ahead of a presidential election on 31 October.

    Opposition parties have called for civil disobedience to protest against an attempt by the incumbent, Alassane Ouattara, to seek a third term. They say the bid is illegal.

    Thousands of people rallied against the move in the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Saturday.

    There are four candidates in all. Key opposition figures, including a former president and a former prime minister, have been disqualified.

    Mr Ouattara became president 10 years ago in a disputed election that was marred by violence.

  4. Thousands protest against Ouattara's third-term bid

    BBC World Service

    Supporters of Ivory Coast"s opposition coalition parties gather during a stadium rally to protest against President Alassane Ouattara

    Thousands of Ivory Coast opposition supporters have gathered in a stadium in the main city, Abidjan, as protests continue over the decision of President Alassane Ouattara to stand again for office.

    Dressed in the national colours of green and white, they carried aloft banners proclaiming their opposition to a third term, which they say is illegal.

    A supporter of Ivory Coast"s opposition coalition parties holds a sign that reads: "No to a third term"

    Mr Ouattara, who became president in 2010 following a disputed election, says constitutional changes voted through in 2016 reset the clock on the two-term limit to his presidency.

    Some key opposition candidates have been disqualified from the ballot and, robbed of a figurehead, opposition parties have called for a campaign of civil disobedience in the run-up to the vote on 31 October.

  5. Ban on protests in Ivory Coast ends ahead of polls

    Police officers stand in front of supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo
    Image caption: There has been tension in the country

    A ban on public demonstrations in Ivory Coast ends on Wednesday just as the opposition plans to begin a campaign of civil disobedience against President Alassane Ouattara’s third term bid.

    The opposition is demanding changes to the constitutional court, the electoral commission, and the withdrawal of Mr Ouattara’s candidacy.

    Mr Ouattara has accused the opposition of scaring the public in order to disrupt the electoral process.

    International Crisis Group has urged the Ivorian authorities to allow former President Laurent Gbagbo and exiled ex-Speaker Guillaume Soro to return to the country.

    Supporters of Gbagbo and Soro have condemned the government for excluding them from the presidential election and threatened to hold protests.

    A weekend rally by the opposition, which has urged a united front against the president, registered a low turnout.

  6. UN envoy calls for peaceful Ivory Coast elections

    Police officers stand in front of supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo
    Image caption: There has been tension in the country ahead of the 31 October polls

    The special UN envoy for West Africa has urged peaceful elections in Ivory Coast at the end of a week-long visit.

    Mohamed Ibn Chambas met President Alassane Ouattara who is running for a third term after his preferred successor died.

    President Ouattara's candidacy has caused tension in the country and led to protests.

    The elections are scheduled for 31 October.

    Mr Chambas also met three of the president's challengers, electoral body officials and civil society representatives.

    He urged all actors to ensure a peaceful and inclusive election and respect human rights.

    Ivory Coast's main presidential election challenger, Henri Konan Bédié, called for a campaign of civil disobedience to stop the president from seeking a third term.

    Several candidates including former President Laurent Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro have been barred from running because of previous convictions.

    At least 10 people have been killed since riots broke out last month after President Ouattara announced his candidacy.

  7. Ivorian opposition call for protests against Ouattara

    BBC World Service

    Henri Konan Bédié  meeting of the main opposition parties in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 20 September 2020

    Ivory Coast's main presidential election challenger has called for a civil disobedience campaign to stop President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term in office in next month's elections.

    Henri Konan Bédié - a former president - declared that the opposition parties were united to protect the stability of the nation.

    At least 10 people have been killed since riots broke out last month after Mr Ouattara declared he would run again following the sudden death of his handpicked successor.

    The election is seen as a major test of the stability of the West African state since a disputed election led to civil war 10 years ago.

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  8. Soro makes call to stop Ouattara's 'mad venture'

    Guillaume Soro

    Ex-Ivory Coast Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has questioned the legitimacy of elections scheduled for next month after he was barred from running for president.

    Mr Soro, who is in exile in France, was excluded from the list of candidates approved by the constitutional court because he has a criminal conviction.

    He wanted to challenge his former ally President Alassane Ouattara, who is running for a third term after his preferred successor died in July.

    Talking to journalists in the French capital, Paris, Mr Soro said that the president had carried out a "civilian coup d'etat".

    He said he wanted to stop Mr Ouattara in his "mad venture by all legal and legitimate means".

    Former President Laurent Gbagbo has also been barred from running.

    Protests over Mr Ouattara's candidacy has led to the deaths of at least 12 people as demonstrators have clashed with police, the Reuters news agency reports.

  9. Ivory Coast rejects Africa court order on elections

    Ivorian government spokesperson Sidi Tiémoko Touré
    Image caption: Sidi Tiémoko Touré said outside influence will not be allowed

    Ivory Coast will not recognise Tuesday's ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights that allowed former Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro to run in next month's elections.

    Government spokesperson Sidi Tiémoko Touré said the authorities will only recognise a decision by the country's constitutional court which barred Mr Soro from the elections because of a previous conviction.

    The constitutional court also barred former President, Laurent Gbagbo, from the elections on similar grounds.

    Ivory Coast withdrew from the African court's charter in April.

    Mr Touré said that people should "avoid thinking that the way institutions function must come from outside".

    There have been protests over President Alassane Ouattara's decision to run for a third term after his preferred successor died in July.

  10. 'Gbagbo knew he would be rejected'

    Analysis

    Valerie Bony

    Ivory Coast, BBC Afrique

    Supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo
    Image caption: Supporters of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo came out to back his candidacy last month

    Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo has been barred from running in the 31 October presidential election.

    The constitutional council said he could not run as he was not on the electoral roll because he was convicted of a financial crime several years ago.

    Gbagbo, who is living in exile, already knew that he would be rejected and put his name forward as a way to rally his supporters.

    The government does not want the former president to return to the country as this could mean he would have more influence on his supporters at a time when there is already tension in the country.

    There have been protests in several parts of the main city, Abidjan, and in several other cities.

    Tensions rose in August when President Alassane Ouattara announced that he would run for a third term.

  11. Ex-President Gbagbo barred from Ivorian elections

    BBC World Service

    Supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo react as they gather outside the Independent Electoral Commission in Abidjan
    Image caption: Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo had filed his candidacy for the presidency

    The Constitutional Court in Ivory Coast has barred the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, and former prime minister, Guillaume Soro, from running in the presidential election next month.

    The electoral commission had already said that anyone with a criminal record would be disqualified.

    Both men have convictions.

    Earlier, protests broke out in several cities over President Alassane Ouattara's decision to run for a third term, something the Ivorian constitution prohibits.

    Fifteen people have died in violence since he said last month that he would stand again.

    He took the decision after his hand-picked successor died suddenly in July.

  12. Ivory Coast opposition leader pledges exiles' return

    Ivory Coast's opposition leader Henri Konan Bedie
    Image caption: Henri Konan Bedie is running on a ticket of a former ruling party

    Ivory Coast's opposition leader Henri Konan Bedie has said he will welcome back exiled citizens if elected.

    The former president said he would free political and military prisoners who were jailed over the 2010 disputed election.

    The post-election violence after Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept that he had lost a disputed election run-off to Alassane Ouattara left 3,000 dead and 500,000 displaced.

    Mr Gbagbo is in exile in Belgium and plans to run in October's elections despite being barred over a previous conviction.

    Mr Bedie unveiled his candidature for the former ruling party, the Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire - African Democratic Rally, in an event attended by thousands of supporters.

    His party had threatened to boycott October's general elections if conditions to make them fair and transparent were not met.

    President Ouattara is running for a controversial third term in the polls.

  13. Ivory Coast party threatens to boycott elections

    Ivory Coast's former ruling party, the Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire - African Democratic Rally, has threatened to boycott October's general elections if conditions to make them fair and transparent are not met.

    Its executive secretary Maurice Kakou Guikahue said the party wants the electoral commission changed.

    He said the party's presidential candidate, Henri Konan Bedie, will be formally presented to delegates on 12 September in Yamoussoukro, the country's political capital.

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara is running for a controversial third term in the polls.

    Former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro were barred from taking part because of a new rule that blocks those convicted of a crime from seeking electoral positions.

    Mr Soro was convicted in absentia in April 2020 of embezzlement and money laundering, while Mr Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia in November 2019 for the "looting" of a local branch of the Central Bank of West African States.

  14. Buhari condemns third-term bids by West African leaders

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has called on West African leaders to stick to their constitutional term limits.

    "It is important that as leaders of our individual member states of Ecowas, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region," he said.

    The comments follow decisions by Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea's President Alpha Condé to run for third terms in their respective countries.

    President Buhari’s comments were made during an in-person summit of leaders of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), held in Niamey, the capital of Niger.

    President Ouattara's decision to run for a third term following the sudden death of his preferred successor triggered protests in Ivory Coast. His critics say the move is unconstitutional.

    Violent protests have also been witnessed in neighbouring Guinea where 82-year-old President Alpha Condé is seeking a controversial third term in October.

    The one-day Ecowas summit on Monday was attended by eight heads of state, including the presidents of Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

    Other topics covered included the ongoing political crisis in Mali. The leaders called for a swift transition to civilian rule in the country following a military coup on 18 August.

    The regional bloc has already imposed sanctions on Mali and asked for elections to take place within a year.

    Meanwhile Mali's toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta flew out late on Saturday for treatment in the United Arab Emirates.

    The junta said Mr Keïta must return to Mali in the next three months after receiving medical treatment abroad - a time-limit it said was agreed with Ecowas.

    This was the first in-person regional summit in more than six months. West African leaders have been meeting virtually in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

  15. France urged to intervene on Ivorian leader third term bid

    Supporters of the ruling RHDP party  the Independent Electoral Commission in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 24 August 2020
    Image caption: President Ouattara was last week nominated by the ruling party for a third term

    French President Emmanuel Macron has been urged to intervene on Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term in October's election - which his opponents say is unconstitutional.

    Former Ivory Coast rebel leader Guillaume Soro has told President Macron in a letter that "Ivorians have noticed France's deafening silence" on the matter.

    He said France had hailed Mr Ouattara's initial announcement that he would not seek re-election, but had been quiet after the president accepted his party's nomination for a third term.

    Mr Soro and former President Laurent Gbagbo have been barred from vying because of their previous convictions.

    Mr Soro was convicted in absentia in April 2020 of embezzlement and money laundering, while Mr Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia in November 2019 for the "looting" of a local branch of the Central Bank of West African States.

  16. Ivorian ex-leader Gbagbo supporters to file poll candidacy

    BBC World Service

    Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on January 15, 2019
    Image caption: Laurent Gbagbo was president from 2000 to 2011

    Supporters of the former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, say they will file his candidacy for October's election even though a court has ruled he is not eligible to stand due to a previous conviction.

    The country descended into civil war after the 2010 election, when Mr Gbagbo refused to step down and hand over to the victor Alassane Ouattara.

    Last year he was acquitted by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity and currently lives in Belgium pending a possible appeal by the prosecution.

    He was sentenced in absentia by an Ivorian court to a 20-year term for looting a regional bank during the 2010 post-election crisis.

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  17. Ivorian ex-president Gbagbo barred from elections

    Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo
    Image caption: Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted for crimes against humanity

    Ivory Coast's former President Laurent Gbagbo has been barred from running for the presidency in upcoming elections after a court upheld the electoral commission's decision to remove him from the electoral list.

    His lawyer Claude Mentenon told AFP news agency that there was no further legal recourse inside Ivory Coast.

    The country’s electoral commission struck him off the list of candidates because he was convicted of a crime.

    The president of the electoral commission, Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert, had in August said that anyone convicted of a crime would not be allowed to stand.

    He made the announcement while revealing the revised electoral list.

    Four candidates including former rebel leader Guillaume Soro were also removed from the list.

    Mr Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia in November 2019 for the "looting" of the Central Bank of West African States (Bceao) following a disputed 2010 election that resulted in violence.

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