Ivory Coast’s main opposition candidate is calling for civil disobedience to prevent President Alassane Ouattara from being elected to a third term in next month’s elections.
Henri Konan Bedie issued the call Sunday in the capital, Abidjan, during a gathering with other opposition candidates and their supporters.
The West African country has been mired in violence that has left at least a dozen people dead since last month, after the 78-year-old Ouattara broke a promise he made earlier this year not to seek reelection. Ouattara reversed his stance and formally accepted the nomination of his ruling party after his handpicked successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died suddenly of a heart attack in July.
Ouattara’s opponents say he is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term, but the president has dismissed their complaints, saying a new constitution approved after he was elected to a second term in 2015 does not apply to him. The country’s Constitutional Court has cleared Ouattara to stand in the election.
The current unrest is likely to dredge up memories of the post-election violence in 2010, when 3,000 people died after then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede the presidential election to Ouattara.
Gbagbo was charged by the International Criminal Court in 2019 of crimes against humanity in connection with the violence, but he was cleared of those charges in a ruling last year. He is currently living in exile in Europe while prosecutors appeal the court’s ruling.