Ivory Coast president's main challengers boycott election

The two main challengers to Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said on Thursday they will boycott the Oct. 31 presidential election, calling on their supporters to prevent the vote from going forward. The move by former president Henri Konan Bedie and former premier Pascal Affi N'Guessan injects fresh uncertainty into the race, in which Ouattara is seeking a third term despite opposition claims that doing so violates the constitution.

Reuters | Yamoussoukro | Updated: 15-10-2020 21:29 IST | Created: 15-10-2020 20:37 IST
Ivory Coast president's main challengers boycott election
Representative image Image Credit: Wikipedia

The two main challengers to Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said on Thursday they will boycott the Oct. 31 presidential election, calling on their supporters to prevent the vote from going forward.

The move by former president Henri Konan Bedie and former premier Pascal Affi N'Guessan injects fresh uncertainty into the race, in which Ouattara is seeking a third term despite opposition claims that doing so violates the constitution. Protests against Ouattara's candidacy in August led to more than a dozen deaths and stoked fears of a new political crisis in the world's top cocoa-producing country.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 election sparked a brief civil war that killed 3,000 people and cratered the West African economy. "We invite our supporters across the country to block this electoral coup d'etat that President Ouattara is preparing to commit," Affi, the candidate of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), said during a joint appearance with Bedie, who was president from 1993-1999.

Affi, who was premier in 2000-2003, called on opposition supporters to "prevent the holding of all operations connected to the election and apply the call for a boycott by all legal means at their disposal". Besides complaining that Ouattara is violating the constitution, Affi and Bedie have accused the ruling party of manipulating the electoral process.

The boycott leaves only one candidate, Bedie's former ally Kouadio Konan Bertin, in the race against Ouattara. Ouattara's allies have said they will participate in the election regardless of whether their opponents boycott. Ouattara argues that a new constitution approved in 2016 reset term limits, giving him the right to run again.

He announced in March that he would not be a candidate and selected his prime minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, to represent the ruling party. But Gon Coulibaly died in July, and Ouattara stepped in to replace him the following month.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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