News / Africa

Pockets of Unrest Accompany Ivory Coast Polls

A voter fills out his ballot behind a privacy screen at a polling station in the Cocody neighborhood of Abidjan, April 21, 2013.
A voter fills out his ballot behind a privacy screen at a polling station in the Cocody neighborhood of Abidjan, April 21, 2013.
Tension is flaring in parts of Abidjan as results trickle in from Ivory Coast’s first local elections in more than a decade. So far, independent candidates have taken more seats than either of the two main political parties that participated — a trend that could signal disenchantment with the ruling coalition.
 
Both the campaign and Sunday’s vote were conducted peacefully. But for the past two nights in the commercial capital, Abidjan, security forces have broken up demonstrations organized by the supporters of losing candidates, resulting in an unknown number of injuries.
 
Security forces in Abidjan’s Adjame district used tear gas on demonstrators late Tuesday. Witnesses said at least 100 supporters of Soumahoro Farikou, an independent candidate, took to the streets after the electoral commission announced he had lost a municipal race to the candidate from President Alassane Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans (RDR) political party.
 
A 28-year-old clothing vendor, Seydou Konate, said he saw security forces beat demonstrators with batons and wood. He said voters here did not trust the official result and would never accept it.
 
“Ouattara’s party did not win here, and everyone knows it," he said. "The government is trying to steal the vote, and that is unacceptable.”
 
Similar demonstrations were also reported in Abidjan’s Koumassi district, although those involved supporters of a losing RDR candidate. On Monday, demonstrations took place in Adjame, Koumassi and in Yamoussoukro, the political capital in the center of the country.
 
Ivorian officials have been reluctant to comment on the unrest, but reports from witnesses and local officials suggest dozens have been injured.
 
Ivory Coast has a history of election-related violence. After the November 2010 presidential runoff vote, former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to Ouattara, prompting a five-month power struggle that claimed an estimated least 3,000 lives.
 
Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) political party boycotted this week’s vote, which is the first one carried out solely by the government since the crisis. The party also boycotted a 2011 legislative vote that was partly organized and certified by the U.N.
 
With the FPI out of the picture, Sunday's race was seen as a contest between the RDR and the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, the most important member of Ouattara’s governing coalition.
 
But with more than half of the municipal positions announced by Wednesday, independent candidates had won more seats than either of those two parties.
 
Landry Kuyo, secretary general of My Way Network, a youth organization that promotes political participation, says this indicates the population is tired of the main political parties and is casting votes with development in mind.
 
“The population does not have confidence in the political parties. They want to hear from candidates who will develop their neighborhoods, not from politicians," he said. "That is why the independent candidates appeal to them, and why they did so well despite the political parties’ financial resources and support bases.”
 
More results from the race were expected by early Thursday.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs