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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid