Ivory Coast

  1. Amnesty urges release of Ivory Coast opposition leader

    Pascal Affi N"Guessan addresses journalists in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 01 November 2020.
    Image caption: Pascal Affi N'Guessan and others boycotted last month's presidential election

    Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Ivorian opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan and others who were arrested after the constitutional court confirmed President Alassane Ouattara’s re-election.

    Mr N’Guessan is facing charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's controversial third-term victory, and announcing the establishment of a parallel government.

    Amnesty also said numerous human rights abuses were committed before and after the electoral period, including attacks on demonstrators by people armed with machetes and guns.

    President Ouattara last week held talks with his main rival, Henri Konan Bédié, in the commercial hub of Abidjan to make peace following the disputed election.

    After the meeting the opposition said no dialogue would proceed unless all those arrested over election protests are freed.

    Officially 85 people died while 484 were wounded in the electoral crisis.

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  2. Ivorian rivals 'to make peace' amid post-election crisis

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abijdan

    Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara (R) speaks with Henri Konan Bedie (L), in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 11 November 2020.

    Ivory Coast's President, Alassane Ouattara, and his main rival, Henri Konan Bédié, said they have decided to make peace in the country after weeks of violence over a disputed presidential election.

    The two men said they would keep talking following a meeting in the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Wednesday which they described as an ice-breaker.

    The government says 85 people have been killed in violence connected with the election in which Mr Ouattara won a controversial third term.

    A number of opposition leaders have been arrested after denouncing the poll and setting up a rival administration.

    Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara (C-R) meets with Henri Konan Bedie (C-L)

    President Ouattara's first words to journalists after the meeting were that “trust has been rebuilt”.

    But there were no handshakes in front of the cameras.

    Mr Bedie’s party, the PDCI, had previously insisted on several preconditions before the meeting - including removal of security blockades on the residences of opposition leaders and cessation of legal proceedings against them.

    The opposition does not recognise the results of the 31 October presidential election.

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  3. More post-election clashes in Ivory Coast

    Women walk past burning car during protests
    Image caption: Opposition supporters have been protesting against the president's re-election

    There are reports of more post-election clashes in Ivory Coast following President Alassane Ouattara's re-election for a controversial third term.

    Three people were killed and dozens injured on Tuesday in an opposition stronghold according to local authorities quoted by news agencies.

    The clashes were reported in the south-central town of M’Batto seen as loyal to opposition candidate Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who was arrested on Friday.

    Mr N’Guessan is facing charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's re-election and announcing the establishment of a parallel government.

    President Ouattara had invited his rival, former President Henri Konan Bédié, for talks following violence.

    Mr Bédié is yet to respond to the invitation.

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  4. Ivory Coast president invites rival for talks on crisis

    Alassane Ouattara supporters at a rally in  Abidjan on October 17, 2020.
    Image caption: Turnout for the election was put at almost 54%

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara has invited his rival, former President Henri Konan Bédié, for talks following violence sparked by his controversial third-term win.

    Opposition leaders boycotted last month's vote and vowed to set up a transitional government that would organise fresh elections.

    They said it was illegal for Mr Ouattara to stand for a third term as it broke rules on term limits, but supporters of the president say a constitutional change in 2016 means his first term effectively did not count.

    On Monday the constitutional court confirmed Mr Ouattara's win. He received 94.27% of votes. No appeal against the presidential election is now possible, according to Ivorian law.

    President Ouattara invited Mr Bédié to a "meeting in the next few days for a open and sincere dialogue to help to restore confidence", the AFP news agency reports.

    "I would like to reaffirm my availability, today like yesterday, for a sincere and constructive dialogue with the opposition, while respecting the constitutional order," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

    Several opposition figures including former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan face charges of terrorism and sedition after rejecting President Ouattara's re-election.

    At least 40 people have been killed in election-related clashes since August.

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  5. Thousands flee Ivory Coast after controversial election

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    An Election worker starts the counting of the ballots after voting closed in the first round of the presidential elections in Abidjan
    Image caption: The opposition boycotted the presidential poll

    The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) says 3,600 people have fled into Liberia from Ivory Coast fearing post-election violence.

    The UNHCR said numbers had surged following the 31 October presidential poll.

    Final results issued on Monday gave the incumbent Alassane Ouattara, who ran for a controversial third term, more than 94% of the vote.

    That victory has been confirmed by the constitutional court.

    The UN says Liberia, which is still recovering from a series of civil wars, is not economically capable of hosting the refugees.

    Ivorian opposition leaders are facing criminal charges after denouncing the poll and setting up a rival administration.

  6. Former Ivorian rebel leader asks army to intervene

    Ivory Coast security forces members surround the residence of former Ivory Coast President Henri Konan Bedie, president of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast  in Abidjan, Ivory Coast November 3, 2020.
    Image caption: Security forces have surrounded the homes of opposition leaders

    An exiled former rebel leader and prime minister, Guillaume Soro, has urged Ivory Coast's army to intervene following Saturday's disputed presidential election.

    Mr Soro issued a statement on social media calling on troops to restore constitutional order.

    He was barred from contesting in the election because of a conviction earlier this year for corruption.

    The Ivorian opposition boycotted the election, allowing President Alassane Ouattara to win a third term with more than 90% of the vote.

    There are fears the disputed election could to plunge the country into violence.

    Security forces have already surrounded the homes of the two main opposition candidates Henri Konan Bédié and Pascal Affi N'Guessan.

    The duo had announced the creation of a rival administration.

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  7. Pressure mounts on Ivorian opposition after poll boycott

    BBC World Service

    Supporters cheer as Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara speaks at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium on August 22, 2020 in Abidjan
    Image caption: President Alassane Ouattara won the elections with 94% of the votes

    The UN, the African Union and the West African bloc, Ecowas, have urged the opposition in Ivory Coast to respect constitutional order after it rejected President Alassane Ouattara's re-election and vowed to set up a transitional government.

    A joint statement has called on all parties to exercise dialogue and restraint.

    Earlier, the Ivorian government accused the opposition of sedition and asked the public prosecutor to bring those involved to justice.

    Police have surrounded the house of the opposition leader, Henri Konan Bédié, firing tear gas at his supporters.

    The opposition accuses Mr Ouattara of an electoral coup.

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  8. Ivory Coast opposition accused of plotting against the state

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The authorities in Ivory Coast have accused the opposition of plotting against the state after it announced it was setting up a transitional government following a disputed presidential poll.

    Justice Minister Sansan Kambile said the government had asked the public prosecutor to bring those involved to justice.

    He accused the opposition of assault following violent clashes during the election period.

    The opposition has accused President Alassana Ouattara, who has won a third term in office, of an electoral coup.

    The European Union and United Nations say they are deeply concerned about escalating tensions in the country, where thousands have fled their homes fearing further unrest.

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  9. EU 'deeply concerned' about tensions in Ivory Coast

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Electoral commission officials check the voter's roll as they count votes at a polling station in Abidjan on October 31, 2020, after Ivory Coast's presidential election.
    Image caption: The votes were counted at the end of last month

    The European Union says it is deeply concerned about tensions in Ivory Coast following the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara for a third term.

    The EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said provocations and incitements to hatred were continuing, and that deaths needed to be independently investigated.

    The electoral commission said Mr Ouattara won 94% of the vote, which was boycotted by the opposition. Turnout was 54%.

    The opposition says it is creating a transitional government, describing Mr Ouattara's third term run as an electoral coup.

    About 40 people were killed during campaigning and on election day.

  10. Ivory Coast's Ouattara re-elected for third term

    BBC World Service

    Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara speaks next to his wife Dominique in Abidjan, Ivory Coast October 31, 2020.
    Image caption: President Alassane Ouattara ran for a third term after his preferred successor died

    The electoral commission in Ivory Coast says President Alassane Ouattara has won a third term, securing just over 94% of the votes in Saturday's election, that the opposition boycotted.

    Turnout was put at almost 54%.

    The result has to be confirmed by the Constitutional Council.

    On Monday, the Ivorian opposition said it was creating a transitional government.

    Mr Ouattara controversially announced he was running again after his party's chosen successor died suddenly in July. The opposition called it an electoral coup.

    Some 30 people were killed during campaigning and on election day.

  11. Ivorian opposition to 'organise fresh election'

    Pascal Affi N"Guessan (C) during a news conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on November 1, 2020.
    Image caption: Pascal Affi N'Guessan (C) boycotted the presidential election

    The opposition in Ivory Coast says it is creating a transitional government after it boycotted a presidential election on Saturday over President Alassane Ouattara's decision to stand for a third term in office.

    One of the transitional government's roles will be to organise a fair, transparent and inclusive presidential election, opposition leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan said.

    He said a council of national transition had been formed which would appoint a transitional government to be headed by former president Henri Konan Bédié, who is the head of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast.

    "Maintaining Mr Ouattara as head of state is likely to lead to civil war,” Mr N'Guessan said.

    The ruling party has warned the opposition against any "attempt to destabilise" the country.

    At least nine people were killed in clashes during the election, as opposition protesters tried to stop people from voting.

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  12. 'Fear and anxiety' marred Ivory Coast poll - observers

    vory Coast's incumbent President and presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara
    Image caption: The opposition boycotted the election because President Alassane Ouattara, pictured, is seeking a third term

    Ivory Coast's election on Saturday was marred by intimidation, violence and electoral malpractice, an observation group has said.

    "An election is the moment when a society comes together to experience and live out democracy, but the context that prevailed on election day... shows that a large segment of the Ivorian population did not experience this election in peace," PTI Advocacy Group said in a statement.

    It found that at least 23% of polling stations remained closed nationwide, some closed early, while others changed location without notifying voters.

    "In 6% of polling stations​, voting was suspended before the counting and announcement of results could be completed," the organisation reported.

    It said a significant number of voters were disfranchised because polling stations did not open, adding that even those people who were able to vote did so "in a context of fear and anxiety".

    The advocacy group urged the electoral commission to be transparent about the vote and, among other recommendations, to publish an exhaustive list of polling centres and polling stations that did not open on election day.

    It also urged political leaders not to incite their supporters and asked the public to refrain from violence.

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara is expected to win a controversial third term in office in a poll that has been boycotted by main opposition parties.

    Early results show he has taken a commanding lead.

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  13. The false claims surrounding Ivory Coast polls

    Linnete Bahati

    BBC Monitoring Disinformation Team

    Man in body paint saying "no to a third term"
    Image caption: Opposition supporters believe President Ouattara's third term bid is unconstitutional

    Plenty of rumours and false claims have been spreading online in Ivory Coast, where presidential elections were held on Saturday.

    The polls took place in a tense political atmosphere, with some opposition parties boycotting the election.

    Some widely shared posts falsely claimed that nationwide turnout had only been 10%, citing a French journalist for TV5 Monde.

    But the journalist clarified that the 10% figure referred only to some parts of the commercial capital Abidjan.

    View more on twitter

    Elsewhere, a fake poster attributed to the French embassy in Ivory Coast said that polling stations would be closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

    Another Facebook post told Ivorians that voting in France had been banned and those attending the polling station would face a 135 euro fine ($157; £122).

    Both claims are false.

    The official page for the Ivory Coast embassy in France gave information of polling stations across France where those eligible could go to vote.

    There was also a rumour that went viral claiming that President Ouatarra was going to cut off the internet in the days leading up to the elections. But it gave no evidence and the internet shutdown didn't happen.

    a graphic showing Alassane Ouattara with 99.45% of the vote
    Image caption: The TV station apologised for its miscalculated results graphic

    An error by a TV news channel which showed President Ouatarra with 99.45% of the vote in the area of Danane, making a total of 107% when other candidates were counted, was seized upon by some as proof of electoral fraud.

    But the TV station posted a correction and the mistake was confirmed by the electoral commission.

    Read more: Old men, chocolate and Ivory Coast's bitter election

  14. Ivory Coast ruling party warns opposition after polls

    A woman walks past a burnt car in Ivory Coast protests
    Image caption: There have been protests against the president's third-term bid

    The ruling party in Ivory Coast has warned opposition leaders against any attempt to destabilise the country after they rejected Saturday's election in which President Alassane Ouattara stood for a controversial third term.

    The opposition, which boycotted the poll, has called for mass protests to block what they describe as an electoral coup. They also said they wanted a "civil transition" to pave the way for later elections.

    Mr Ouattara has taken a commanding early lead, winning 99% of the vote in some ruling party strongholds.

    More than 16 people were killed in political violence before and during the election.

    Mr Ouattara announced he was running again after his party's chosen successor died suddenly in July.

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