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Ivory Coast Opposition: President No Longer Recognized


A supporter poses by a poster of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan, 16 Oct 2009

A supporter poses by a poster of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan, 16 Oct 2009

A coalition of opposition parties in Ivory Coast says it no longer recognizes President Laurent Gbagbo as the country's head of state.

The opposition group accused Mr. Gbagbo of staging a coup Friday when he dissolved the government and an electoral commission, casting doubt over next month's presidential vote.

The RHDP coalition, which includes Ivory Coast's two main opposition parties, called the move unconstitutional in a statement released Saturday.

The group accused the president of creating a dictatorship and urged Ivorians to oppose it "by all means possible".

A youth leader in one of the opposition parties told VOA Saturday that "fighting is inevitable" given the Mr. Gbagbo's action.

President Gbagbo said he has asked Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to propose a format for a new electoral commission within the next week.

The presidential poll in the politically divided country has been repeatedly postponed since 2005.

President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro agreed to a power-sharing government under a 2007 peace agreement.

Under the peace deal, Mr. Gbagbo remains president and Mr. Soro, the New Forces leader, serves as prime minister in a transitional government to serve until elections are held.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Soro decided to suspend the voter registration process over fraud allegations.

The question of who can vote and who is really Ivorian is one of the key issues that led to the country's 2002 civil war.

The New Forces, made up of former rebels in Ivory Coast, say the election controversy could push the country back into civil war.

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