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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid