News / Africa

Gbagbo Party Vows to Boycott Local Ivory Coast Polls

A victim of the 2010 post-election crisis hold a placard reading
A victim of the 2010 post-election crisis hold a placard reading "Gbagbo turned me into a widow" during a gathering in the Kouassai popular district of Abidjan, Feb. 28, 2013.
Campaigning is underway in Ivory Coast for municipal and regional elections, although the opposition party of former president Laurent Gbagbo has vowed to boycott.  The country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission is warning against intimidation and threats of violence surrounding the April 21 vote.  

The election later this month is seen as an important test of whether Ivory Coast has moved past its recent electoral turmoil.  Following the November 2010 presidential election, former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to the winner, Alassane Ouattara.  The standoff between the two triggered five months of violence that claimed at least 3,000 lives.

The former president's political party, the Ivorian Popular Front, boycotted legislative elections in late 2011.  Though the vote went smoothly, turnout was low and there were isolated attacks on polling stations.

Earlier this year, the Ivorian Popular Front held talks with the governing coalition about participating in the upcoming polls.  But Richard Kodjo, the party’s secretary-general, said it pulled out because the coalition had set a date for the elections without proper consultations.

"We were in the middle of these negotiations, and we had not reached any conclusions, but the authorities decided to fix the date anyway," he said. “We had hoped that we would not go forward with the elections until we had solved the problems of security and credibility.”

Kodjo explained the party was hoping for reforms to the security sector, as well as the national election commission, which he claimed was not capable of managing a fair vote.

The party is also seeking amnesty for crimes committed during the 2010-11 conflict, something President Ouattara’s government has ruled out.

An emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank, Samir Gadio, said the Ivorian Popular Front decision to boycott is probably motivated by a fear of defeat, as well as by “hardcore elements” in the party who have little interest in cooperating with the government.
                                                                                       
“By going to this election they will probably lose, which they know.  The second point is that the leadership of the FPI at the moment is still unable to draw its own direction.  In a sense it is still influenced by hardcore elements, which are not keen to reintegrate in the political process,” said Gadio.

Unlike recent presidential and parliamentary elections, the local elections will not be U.N. organized. At a recent press conference, Albert Koenders, the U.N. special representative in Ivory Coast, said he was confident local authorities are doing everything in their power to ensure a smooth and fair vote.

He also issued a stern warning to potential spoilers.

“Aspirants calling for hatred, violence, intolerance and intimidation that threaten the peaceful execution of these elections should know that they will be responsible for their actions," Koenders said, adding that the United Nations will be particularly vigilant against all threats.

According to the election commission, more than 700 candidates will take part in the vote.  A total of 659 will be running for municipal seats, while 84 will be running for regional positions.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs