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Ivorian Opposition Coalition to Demand President Gbagbo’s Resignation

A leading member of Ivory Coast’s opposition coalition says the group will Monday demand the resignation of embattled President Laurent Gbagbo after he dissolved the government and the electoral commission ahead of this year’s election.

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo (center) with supporters in Abidjan after he submitted his candidacy for presidential election, 16 October 2009
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo (center) with supporters in Abidjan after he submitted his candidacy for presidential election, 16 October 2009

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  • Michel Kofi, a leading opposition figure spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

A leading member of Ivory Coast’s opposition coalition says the group will Monday demand the resignation of embattled President Laurent Gbagbo after he dissolved the government and the electoral commission ahead of this year’s election.

Michele Koffi of the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) said the opposition coalition will not allow President Gbagbo to continue to flout the unity government’s peace agreement.

“Let’s say today is a very important day for us Ivorian because today we are having a very big demonstration (because) we are not happy. And we are now ready to shoot out of the country this power, which is destroying our democracy, killing the country and then bringing in so many stupidities in the country,” he said.

President Gbagbo dissolved both his government and the electoral commission following his recent statement that the commission failed to decisively deal with all contested cases of the voter register saying it admitted some 429,000 voters who may be illegitimate -- a charge the electoral commission denies.

Koffi said it seems the president is not interested in any form of democracy.

“The point that the international community has to know is that Mr. Gbagbo Laurent has decided long time (ago) not in a regular election process. He just wants to destroy all people, all the system and make sure that his people are in a position to organize elections,” Koffi said.

Political observers say tension is high as the opposition coalition begins to challenge President Gbagbo’s legitimacy after he dissolved both the government and the electoral body.

Koffi said the dissolved electoral body has the “absolute support” of the opposition.

“Through all (the) negotiations we had…we decided to put in place this electoral commission and they did well. They did very well. And then they have our 100 percent support, and we will never accept another committee to be put in place,” Koffi said.

The opposition has often accused President Gbagbo of undermining peace agreements despite repeated promises -- a charge the president’s supporters have denied.

Koffi said the opposition is not interested in any more negotiations with President Gbagbo.

“We are tired of negotiations. We are tired of games. This process is now going up more than 10 years now. We are tired. Every time it is the same thing. We sit down we have negotiations, we have agreements and at the end of the process Gbagbo Laurent and his party come out with another issue and we have to go back. All the time moving like that we are destroying the country and we are tired,” Koffi said.

Meanwhile, media reports suggest that Prime Minister Guillaume Soro is scheduled to pick a new government Monday.

The new government is scheduled to include all the parties that participated in the peace process that led to the formation of the unity government.

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