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Ivory Coast Opposition Party to Boycott Election

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara.

FILE - President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara.

The opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) is boycotting the upcoming October 25 presidential election, because it says the prevailing political and security conditions are not conducive for a peaceful, transparent and credible poll.

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo’s party is also split, according to FPI spokesman Boubakar Kone, who is rejecting reports Pascal Affi N’Guessan would lead the party into the election.

Kone says N'Guessan was disqualified from leading the party in the poll at an April meeting, “Mr. N'Guessan is no longer part of the FPI, so he cannot be our candidate.”

“We haven’t decided yet to participate in the election for many reasons," Kone added. "The first one is that the gentleman who is our current president is not eligible. He needs to needs to withdraw his candidacy. The second thing we have to say is that the conditions are not good for a fair election in Côte d’Ivoire.”

Kone says the FPI seeks direct negotiations with President Alassane Ouattara’s government in a bid to ensure a fair playing filed for future elections.

“Our next line of action is to act we have to force the current president to start discussions with us so that the conditions can be fair. We have to sit and talk and decide in the [consensus] way what the conditions are going to be for this coming election,” said Kone.

'Commission is unbalanced'

“Former president Gbagbo’s party is not taking part in this election in the current condition in the sense that the electoral commission is unbalanced, the Constitutional Court [is] ... made up of Mr. Ouattara’s friends and cannot be fair, the census for the voters is biased. There are so many problems, we have to solve first.”

But supporters of the ruling Rally of the Republicans party have rejected the opposition’s accusations as without merit.

They contend the FPI boycotted elections for the fear of losing to President Ouattara, who they said has transformed the economy, stabilized the country and created jobs for the youth since the end of the 2010-2011 post-election violence.

They insist Mr. Ouattara would win the upcoming presidential vote with a landslide.

The FPI has boycotted presidential and legislative elections since former President Gbagbo was sent to the International Criminal Court for trial. He faces charges that include crimes against humanity in unrest following the disputed October 2010 elections.

The conflict left thousands of Ivorians dead and thousands more displaced from their homes.

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