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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid