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Ivory Coast Opposition Leader Calls for Power-Sharing Council

An Ivory Coast opposition leader has called for a power-sharing council to replace President Laurent Gbagbo when the president's term expires at the end of this month.

Alassane Ouattara has also called for suspension of the constitution in an attempt to advance stalled peace efforts in the divided west African country.

In a document shown to Western news agencies, Ouattara proposed a council that would include himself, Mr. Gbagbo, former President Henri Konan Bedie and Guillaume Soro, leader of rebels who control the country's north.

A bloc of West African states (ECOWAS) proposed a different plan last week, saying Mr. Gbagbo's term should be extended for another year while elections are held.

Polls originally scheduled for this month were cancelled due to a lack of progress on programs to identify citizens and register voters.

Mr. Gbagbo has insisted he will stay in office until the elections are held.

Ivory Coast has been divided between rebel and government-controlled areas since a 2002 civil war. United Nations mediation efforts have been hampered by bitter disputes over disarmament and power-sharing issues.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.