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Ivorian Opposition Upbeat about Defeating President Gbagbo

  • Peter Clottey

Presidential candidate Henri Konan Bedie casts his ballot in the first round of presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 31 Oct 2010

Presidential candidate Henri Konan Bedie casts his ballot in the first round of presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 31 Oct 2010

A leading member of Ivory Coast’s opposition Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) of former president Henri Konan Bedie told VOA his party has joined forces with other groups to challenge incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo in the 21st November presidential run-off vote.

Michele Koffi said three other opposition parties, including the PDCI, unanimously agreed Sunday to back former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara’s challenge to incumbent President Gbagbo.

“We’ve just finished a top-level opposition meeting and we (PDCI) have agreed to support Ouattara for the second round,” said Koffi.

“The first thing that gives us (hope) that our supporters will vote for the instructions that we are giving is that we are all disappointed (in) the government, disappointed in the constitutional institution, and, definitely, Ivoirians are tired of (Mr.) Gbagbo’s power. So, we are sure that they will know what to do.”

The opposition coalition demanded a recount of the 31st October election contending that hundreds of thousands of votes were inaccurately awarded to President Gbagbo.

But, the country’s constitutional council rejected their demand paving the way for a run-off between incumbent Mr. Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Ouattara.

Koffi predicted that the opposition coalition, in his words, will defeat President Gbagbo in a transparent election.

“When you take Bedie and Ouattara at the first (round), when we join our voice, we will have about 50 percent of the votes. So, we are sure that, if we go to the second round with transparency and everything, then, yes, we will defeat him.”

Koffi also warned that it is unlikely that the opposition coalition will accept a possible victory of President Gbagbo in the upcoming presidential run-off vote.

Results announced by the election commission put President Gbagbo in first place with 38 percent of the vote, while Mr. Ouattara finished second with 32 percent.

Leading the demands for a recount is former president Henri Konan Bedie, who finished third with 25 percent. His party alleges that someone rigged the results.

Before the first-round, Ouattara and Bedie pledged to support each other if either one faced President Gbagbo in a run-off.

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