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Côte d’Ivoire

CrisisWatch Côte d’Ivoire

Unchanged Situation

Ahead of presidential election scheduled for late Oct, President Ouattara ruled out third term and revised constitution, while controversy over composition of electoral commission continued. Ouattara 5 March said he would not seek re-election and “leave power to the younger generation”; main opposition parties, including former President Bédié’s Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) and former President Gbagbo’s Popular Ivorian Front (FPI) welcomed withdrawal. Former national assembly speaker Guillaume Soro, who has declared intention to run for president, 7 March described move as political ploy designed to divert attention from “tinkering with constitution”. Ruling party Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) 12 March chose PM Amadou Gon Coulibaly as presidential candidate. Bédié faced increasing pressure from civil society and PDCI to withdraw from presidential race; his adviser Kouadio Konan Bertin 2 March said he would run for president should Bédié not declare his candidacy. Council of ministers 6 March adopted constitutional reform project. Opposition parliamentary groups including Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire-African Democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA), Vox Populi and Guillaume Soro’s Rally for Côte d’Ivoire (RACI) 12 March withdrew from parliamentary debates on constitutional reform project over concerns that changes including presidential appointment of VP, possibility to delay parliamentary elections, and replacement of existing Supreme Court with two judiciary organs whose heads would be chosen by president will concentrate power in president’s hands. Around 5,000 people attended opposition gathering against constitutional revision in capital Yamoussoukro 15 March. Congress 17 March adopted constitutional reform project with large majority; Ouattara next day said he would use reform to postpone legislative elections from Dec 2020 to April 2021. Presidency 19 March said urgent modifications to electoral code would be made by ordinance, due to restrictions on parliamentary meetings in context of COVID-19. Opposition continued to accuse electoral commission of pro-govt bias. PDCI 9 March turned down fourth seat in commission, calling for thorough reform of body.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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