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Ivory Coast Court Validates Referendum on New Constitution

  • Reuters

Polling agents count ballots at a polling station during the referendum for a new constitution, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Oct. 30, 2016.

Polling agents count ballots at a polling station during the referendum for a new constitution, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Oct. 30, 2016.

Ivory Coast's top court on Friday validated the results of a referendum backing a new constitution that President Alassane Ouattara says will help the country turn the page after a decade of political turmoil.

"The constitutional project is adopted," said Mamadou Kone, president of the constitutional court. He rejected a request to annul the referendum from several political parties who boycotted the vote, including that of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

An overwhelming majority of voters in Sunday's vote supported the constitution, which institutes a new post of vice president among other changes. Turnout was around 42 percent.

The issue of the constitution, drafted under military rule after a 1999 coup, was at the heart of Ivory Coast's upheaval.

Its most controversial clause said that both parents of presidential candidates must be natural-born Ivorians, a swipe at northerners, many of whom, like Ouattara, have family ties that straddle the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali.

The new constitution scraps that provision, which was used to disqualify Ouattara from an election in 2000, and now only one parent must be Ivorian.

Ivory Coast, the world's top producer of cocoa, has become one of Africa's rising economic stars since 2011 when a civil war ended.

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