News / Africa

Ivory Coast Elects Parliament

A woman with a baby on her back, votes at a polling station in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, December 11, 2011.
A woman with a baby on her back, votes at a polling station in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, December 11, 2011.
Nick Loomis

Voters in Ivory Coast looking to rebuild their war-torn country went to the polls in low numbers for a parliamentary election that will likely solidify the rule of President Alassane Ouattara. Though the threat of violence has been largely subdued, the opposition boycott looms over the vote and its results.

Some 1,000 candidates are vying to fill 255 seats in the first parliamentary vote in over a decade. Members of ousted president Laurent Gbagbo's party have boycotted the election, making it easier for President Ouattara's Democratic party to win a majority and fulfill its agenda. The president voted early Sunday in Abidjan.

President Ouattara said Ivorians need parliament members who will work to make laws that can adapt to a reconciled and reunited Ivory Coast and its aspirations - in which, he added, the parliament must play an essential role.

Despite the president's encouragement, voter turnout was low for the election, which is thought to be a foregone conclusion. Members of Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front, the FPI, are absent from the ballots in solidarity with their leader, whose refusal to leave office after losing last year's presidential election triggered a conflict that left 3,000 dead. He was arrested in April and now awaits trial for crimes against humanity in The Hague.

His supporters say his treatment is unfair, as atrocities were committed on both sides of the conflict and only Gbagbo's camp was punished. Alain Kouakou of Abidjan joined the boycott and said the new parliament will be illegitimate.

Kouakou says there are faults, lies and no liberty in this election and it does not respect the constitution so he cannot vote. He says there is still a post-electoral crisis that has not been resolved.

Although some former FPI members are running as independents, the anticipated absence of a strong opposition in parliament will ease Ouattara's agenda to rebuild the nation's social and economic facilities. Thomas Kablan voted Sunday for exactly that reason.

Kablan says he does not agree with the boycott and that Ivory Coast must accept the vote and the changes in the country.

Though the absence of the FPI in the new government may further disenfranchise Gbagbo supporters. Georgette Kouassi of Abidjan's Cocody district says she fears the conflict will start anew.

Kouassi says Ivorians were traumatized by the armed combatants and she hopes they will be disciplined so they do not come back.

Five people were killed during the election campaign, including three in a rocket attack on a Ouattara rally. The United Nations sent 7,000 troops to join 25,000 Ivorian security personnel for the elections and the voting is expected to continue without incident.


You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid