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Côte d’Ivoire

CrisisWatch Côte d’Ivoire

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Deadly protests erupted across country after President Ouattara announced his candidacy in presidential election scheduled for Oct, raising risk of all-out violence in coming weeks. In reversal of previous commitment to leave power, Ouattara 6 Aug said he will run for third term in presidential election scheduled for 31 Oct, citing “duty” and “case of force majeure” after his designated successor and ruling-party candidate Amadou Gon Coulibaly died last month. Opposition unanimously denounced move, with prominent opponent in exile Guillaume Soro 8 Aug accusing Ouattara of violating two-term constitutional limit; Ouattara argues his first two mandates do not count under new constitution adopted in 2016. Move sparked small-scale protests 7-10 Aug in economic capital Abidjan; despite govt 12 Aug ban on demonstrations, protests 12-13 Aug intensified in Abidjan and elsewhere, leaving at least six dead and over 100 wounded across country; notably, clashes between ethnic Malinké supporters of Ouattara and Baoulé supporters of former President Bédié’s Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) killed four and injured at least 90 in Daoukro city in centre east. Govt 14 Aug said security forces in past few days arrested 68 on charges of “disrupting public order, incitement to revolt and violence against law enforcement”, and vowed to take protest instigators to court. NGO Amnesty International 18 Aug denounced “alarming resurgence of the use of unofficial ‘law enforcement’ agents” in protests. UN Sec-Gen Guterres same day urged all parties “to resolve their differences through dialogue” before elections. Govt 19 Aug banned all demonstrations until 15 Sept, but Ouattara’s nomination ceremony 22 Aug sparked renewed protests in Abidjan, Gagnoa city and Bonoua town. Several politicians late Aug submitted presidential candidacies to electoral commission, including Bédié, former PM Affi N’Guessan, and ex-Ouattara Ministers Marcel Amon-Tanoh and Albert Mabri Toikeusse; supporters of former President Gbagbo, in Belgium following his 2019 acquittal of crimes against humanity by ICC, and Soro also submitted their candidacies despite electoral commission earlier in Aug barring both of them from entering presidential race.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

14 Jul 2020
[Ivorian Vice President] Duncan's resignation was most probably also a result of a failure to reach an agreement with President Alassane Ouattara on a presidential candidacy. Deutsche Welle

Rinaldo Depagne

Senior Adviser Africa & Project Director West Africa
10 Jul 2020
[Ouattara] has always been a unanimous choice within his own camp. But [running again] would be extremely dangerous, particularly vis-a-vis the opposition, which would find a common enemy. Al Jazeera

Rinaldo Depagne

Senior Adviser Africa & Project Director West Africa
9 Feb 2017
The problem with the army [in Côte d'Ivoire] is structural disorder that can’t be sorted out with the punctual signing of cheques, even if the cheques are big. Financial Times

Rinaldo Depagne

Senior Adviser Africa & Project Director West Africa

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

How Europe’s Panic over Migration and Terrorism Is a Big Opportunity for Africa

This week’s summit of African and European leaders in Abidjan is a chance to find a win-win solution.

Originally published in IRIN

Op-Ed / Africa

Europe’s Chance in Africa

With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU now imminent, a dramatic power shift is changing the balances behind the scenes of the fifth African Union-European Union summit this week in Côte d’Ivoire. It is an opportunity for the EU to forge a new Africa strategy.

Originally published in Berlin Policy Journal

Op-Ed / Africa

Côte d’Ivoire: The Illusion of Stability

Among the three principal politicians who have struggled for power in Côte d’Ivoire since 1995, President Alassane Ouattara, 73, is the only one still in the game and is most likely to win the presidential election on 25 October. The significance of this election is not so much the electoral outcome – which seems to be a foregone conclusion – as much as the political choices that will result from a renewed Ouattara mandate. Without meaningful political, security and judicial reforms, Côte d’Ivoire could face yet another prolonged period of violence.

Originally published in Daily Maverick