Ivory Coast 2019
Ivory Coast. In January, the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to release President Laurent Gbagbo from the acts he allegedly was an accomplice to. Gbagbo was accused of being responsible for crimes against humanity (murder, persecution, rape and other inhumane acts) that his forces must have committed during the fighting that erupted after the 2011 presidential election. Laurent Gbagbo was the first head of state to be prosecuted in court. His co-accused, former minister Charles Blé Goudé, was also acquitted. In September, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed against the verdict.
Domestic politics began to run before the 2020 presidential election. According to the constitution adopted in 2016, the president may sit for a maximum of two terms of office, each of five years. Alassane Ouattara, president since 2010, has previously said that this rule does not apply retroactively and that he could therefore sit for two more periods from 2020. However, whether he would really be a candidate was unclear. If not, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was appointed Prime Minister in 2017, has been identified as a possible Crown Prince.
When the President of the National Assembly, former rebel leader and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, resigned in February, speculation surfaced that he intends to run for office in the presidential election. In October, Soro confirmed that he would be running for the newly formed political group Generations and People in Solidarity. In December, Soro refrained from returning home after a stay in France but stayed in Ghana after the Ivorian authorities issued an arrest warrant for him. Soro was accused, among other things, of money laundering and of posing a threat to the state’s authority.
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Gbagbo is promised a new passport
The Ivorian government says it intends to issue a passport to former President Laurent Gbagbo, which will enable him to return to his home country (see also September 25, 2020).
Macron calls on Ouattara to enter into dialogue with the opposition
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulates Alassane Ouattara on his victory in the presidential election, but at the same time urges him to enter into a dialogue with the opposition. Macron also mentioned that the election took place in a tense situation and that violence had occurred. Several opposition politicians have also been arrested, while others have had their homes blocked. The opposition parties PDCO and FPI have set several demands for initiating talks with the government side, including that all legal proceedings against opposition leaders and activists should cease, all blockades should be lifted, political prisoners should be released and politicians in exile should be allowed to return home. Since Ouattara announced his candidacy in August, at least 85 people have been killed in protests. A few days later, Amnesty International demandsthat Pascal Affi N’guessan and other opposition politicians arrested after the election should be released. Another day later, Ouattara states that he is not prepared to discuss any kind of transitional solution.
Ouattara wants a dialogue with Bédié
President Alassane Ouattara invites opposition politician Henri Konan Bédié, a former political opponent who collaborated between 2011 and 2018, to deliberations in the coming days. He says he wants to have an “open dialogue” with Bédié, while demanding that the constitutional order be respected. However, no answer comes from Bédié. There are reports of new outbreaks of violence in the central part of the country. In M’Batto, three people are killed in clashes between supporters of the now-arrested opposition politician Pascal Affi Nguessan and people who support President Ouattara. The day before, six people were killed in Daoukro, where Bédié has strong support, at least six people in clashes between people from different ethnic groups. The dividing line is between local peoples and the diola ethnic group, with roots in the northern part of the country, which is considered to be close to Ouattara. Also in Elibou, on November 9, three people were killed in clashes between protesters blocking roads and security forces.
The Constitutional Council approves Ouattara’s election victory
The Constitutional Council approves Alassane Ouattara’s victory in the October 31 presidential election, which was boycotted by large sections of the opposition. Council President Mamadou Kone confirms the result, with Ouattara receiving 94 percent of the vote, and states that no irregularities were reported. However, the results clearly show how divided the country is, according to the magazine Africa Confidential. Turnout was low, just under 54 percent, but in areas in the north where Ouattara has strong support, about 95 percent voted. In Zouan-Hounien in the western part of the country, just over one in five voters voted, and in Gagnoa in the cocoa belt, slightly more than one in three voters went to the polls.
Opposition politicians are arrested
Opposition politician Pascal Affi Nguessan, who was prime minister under Laurent Gbagbo from 2000 to 2003, has been arrested on charges of inciting the opposition to form his own government after the presidential election. He was arrested in the city of Akoupé on his way to his hometown of Bongouanou, east of the capital Yamassoukro. According to the news agency Reuters, prosecutors are preparing charges against about 10 opposition politicians.
Tense situation after the presidential election
The situation remains tense after the election. Former rebel leader, Prime Minister and President Guillaume Soro, who is in exile in France, is urging the Ivorian army to intervene via social media to “restore peace and harmony”. Later, there are reports that two government supporters were killed in clashes in the city of Toumodi, and that a column where Communications Minister Sidi Tiémoko Touré was traveling has been shelled (no one in the column is said to have been injured). At the same time, the United States calls on the parties to enter into a dialogue to resolve the crisis. In total, more than 40 people have been killed in connection with violence after it became clear that incumbent President Alassane Ouattara would run in the presidential election (see August 2020).
Big victory for Ouattara, but the opposition is planning for new elections
Incumbent President Alassane Ouattara is re-elected with just over 94 percent of the vote, according to preliminary figures from the Electoral Commission. The election was boycotted by parts of the opposition, so turnout was relatively low, around 54 percent. Before the result can be established, it must be approved by the Constitutional Council. Representatives of the opposition, who believe that Ouattara’s candidacy was contrary to the constitution, said the day before that a transitional council should be formed, led by Henri Konan Bédié, who will organize a new election. Former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who alongside Bédié has called on his supporters to boycott the election, says it intends to form a transitional government. Later in the day, the homes of Bédiés, N’Guessan and FPI leader Assoa Adou are surrounded by police, and the government accuses opposition leaders of “At the same time, the African Union (AU) and the West African cooperation organization Ecowas call on opposition leaders to respect the country’s constitutional order. They appeal to all parties to enter into a dialogue. The EU also expresses concern about the situation in the country and calls for calm. There are also reports that four people died when a house in the town of Toumodi in the central part of the country was set on fire on the day after the election. According to the news agency AFP, at least nine people were killed in connection with riots during the weekend. About 8,000 people are also said to have fled to neighboring countries due to concerns about violence. Many people also temporarily leave their homes in Abidjan to avoid unrest.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Ivory Coast in 2019 was 25,716,433, ranking number 53 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.580% yearly, and the population density was 80.8696 people per km2.