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Third-Place Finisher Contesting Ivory Coast Presidential Vote


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

Ivory Coast's presidential election is heading toward a second-round runoff because no candidate won more than half of the votes. The country's former president is contesting the outcome.

Electoral commission President Youssouf Bakayoko ended three days of waiting with an announcement of the final results, just minutes past the commission's midnight deadline.

Bakayoko says President Laurent Gbagbo won about 38 percent of the vote and former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara won just over 32 percent. So they will face off in a second-round runoff later this month because neither won an outright majority of the more than four million votes.

Former President Henri Konan Bedie finished third in Sunday's election with about 25 percent of the vote. His party is questioning the fairness of the process. Party Secretary-General Alphonse Mady wants a recount.

Mady says the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast rejects what he calls a clear intention to rig the results and wants a recount of all ballots.

Election observers report no evidence of fraud. Some observers were excluded from some of the vote counting, but the European Union observer mission says it does not believe that affected the outcome.

Once the results are certified, campaigning will start again in a vote meant to reunite the country eight years after the start of civil war.

The race for the second round now will focus on winning over the voters who cast their ballots for Bedie. Before the vote, Ouattara and Bedie publicly pledged to back the other in a head-to-head race against Mr. Gbagbo. But the president may be able to attract Bedie's supporters who are uncomfortable with Ouattara.

The former prime minister was previously prevented from running for president because of questions about his nationality. Ouattara comes from northern Ivory Coast where many people are descendants of immigrants from Burkina Faso and Mali.

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