News / Africa

Rival Presidential Candidates Take Dueling Oaths of Office in Ivory Coast

A supporter of Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara carry a burning tire during a protest in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010.
A supporter of Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara carry a burning tire during a protest in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010.

Ivory Coast's presidential candidates took competing oaths of office Saturday, deepening the country's political crisis and raising the prospect of further violence.

Last Sunday's presidential vote was meant to reunite the country after a brief civil war. But Ivory Coast is now more sharply divided with dueling presidencies and competing electoral results that threaten to drag the country deeper into crisis.

By annulling as fraudulent nearly 10 percent of all ballots cast, Ivory Coast's constitutional council says President Laurent Gbagbo won election with more than 51 percent of the vote. He was sworn in Saturday before a lively crowd at Abidjan's presidency.

But the country's electoral commission says former prime minister Alassane Ouattara won the election with more than 54 percent of the vote. He took his own oath of office Saturday, saying the last few days have been difficult, but the country is now in good hands.

Ivory Coast's military backs President Gbagbo. Former rebels who still control most northern regions say Mr. Ouattara is the winner.

The African Union is warning against undermining the electoral process and the will of the people, saying that could lead to a " crisis of incalculable consequences " .

France, the United States, and the European Union have joined the United Nations in calling on Mr. Gbagbo to step aside for Mr. Ouattara.

That outside pressure only seems to embolden the president, who used his inaugural address to denounce what he calls terrible cases of foreign interference that threaten Ivory Coast's sovereignty. Mr. Gbagbo said political crises in Africa are caused by people who do not respect the law. That is essential, he says. No country can be strong without respecting laws and procedures.

He says the electoral commission has never had the authority to determine the credibility of a vote. That power has always been the sole responsibility of the constitutional council, and Mr. Gbagbo says people who do not understand that do not understand the law.

A 2007 peace deal signed by Mr. Gbagbo says the United Nations must certify the results of this election. Because the U.N. certified the original electoral commission results that show Mr. Gbagbo losing, Mr. Ouattara says he is the rightful president.

In a letter to the constitutional council, Mr. Ouattara said the exceptional circumstances Ivory Coast is undergoing at the moment do not permit him to swear the oath in person, so he is sending a written oath in his capacity as president.

Soldiers set up roadblocks in Abidjan Saturday. The country is already under an overnight curfew. All the borders are closed. Foreign news broadcasts are suspended indefinitely.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs