News / Africa

Ivory Coast Coalition Partners Contest Local Elections

A girl stands next to a campaign poster of Cisse Ibrahima "Bacongo," a candidate for the municipal elections, on April 19, 2013 in Abidjan, two days ahead of the vote.
A girl stands next to a campaign poster of Cisse Ibrahima "Bacongo," a candidate for the municipal elections, on April 19, 2013 in Abidjan, two days ahead of the vote.
Ivory Coast is holding local elections Sunday, marking the first time the government has organized a vote since a disputed presidential contest in 2010 plunged the country into violence. The party of former president Laurent Gbagbo has decided to boycott, turning the race into a showdown between parties in the current governing coalition.

In front of a pharmacy at a busy intersection in Abidjan’s Yopougon district, women sing as they await the start of a rally on the final day of campaigning before Sunday’s vote. They are supporters of Kafana Kone, a former government minister who is one of 659 candidates on the ballot for municipal positions. An additional 84 people are running for regional positions.

The elections represent the last phase of a cycle that began in 2010 with a disputed presidential vote that brought the West African nation to the brink of civil war. The United Nations estimates that at least 3,000 people died in five months of fighting after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to the winner, current President Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo’s political party, the Ivorian Popular Front, boycotted U.N.-organized legislative elections that were held in late 2011, and it is also boycotting the local elections Sunday. But Kone told VOA he did not think this would render the process illegitimate.

He says, “Legitimacy doesn’t come from the political actors. Legitimacy comes from the people. The fact that an actor doesn’t participate, that doesn’t mean that development stops.”

With the FPI out of the running, the race is a showdown between President Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans (RDR) party and the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, headed by former president Henri Konan Bedie. Bedie’s support helped Ouattara win the 2010 election, and the PDCI is a member of the governing coalition.

A dispute between lawmakers from the two parties was blamed for President Ouattara’s decision to dissolve his Cabinet back in November. But Rinaldo Depagne, senior West Africa analyst for the International Crisis Group, said both parties had an interest in keeping the coalition intact. 

He also said that for this election, most issues that might showcase differences between the two camps - including how to resolve longstanding land conflicts in the west - were not part of the debate in the run-up to the vote

"They need each other to rule. The RDR can’t rule, nobody can rule in this country without the support of another big party. They are obliged to live together. And so far, the big issues are not on the table," he said.

The country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission said Friday that the campaign had been one of “animated discussions,” but that there had been some “regrettable incidents,” including acts of intimidation. The chief spokesman for Ouattara’s RDR party also warned earlier in the week of “increasing tension.” 

In Yopougon, however, voters said the atmosphere was hardly combative. Thirty-six-year-old Juvenal Coulibaly, who trades electronic devices in the district, said the FPI’s decision to boycott had lowered tension considerably.

"This is an election between two brothers," he said. "If the FPI were participating, it would be a real election with a charged atmosphere, but the two parties that are here are brothers, so it’s not a real battle."

Municipal elections in Ivory Coast were last held in 2001, while regional elections were last held in 2002.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid