Presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire: a ballot under surveillance

In Côte d’Ivoire, while the opposition still rejects Alassane Ouattara’s candidacy for a third term and calls for a new Electoral Commission and a new Constitutional Council, the international mission of “preventive diplomacy”, made up of representatives of the Community States of West Africa (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations, expressed Wednesday its “serious concern” before the presidential election of October 31 in Côte d’Ivoire. An opinion that will certainly weigh in the coming days as opponents of the president-candidate, starting with the president of the PDCI, Henri Konan Bédié, have launched a call for civil disobedience which should in principle begin on Saturday, October 10.

Read also Côte d’Ivoire: the presidential election of October 31 postponed?

What the joint UN, AU, ECOWAS mission said

The mission led by Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, current president of the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS, clearly “expressed her deep concern about the lack of confidence between Ivorian political actors”, according to the Minister. final press release issued at the end of the mission.

This mission, in which the UN special representative in West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, took part – who had already carried out a mission at the end of September for the UN – met representatives of the government, of the opposition , civil society and members of the diplomatic corps during this visit from October 4 to 7.

“The joint mission strongly condemned the acts of violence and hate speech with community overtones which unfortunately took place in the field of political competition”, according to the press release.

She “encouraged the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) to continue meetings with the various candidates to find solutions to the outstanding questions” and “invited all stakeholders to promote dialogue and get involved in the organization. and the holding of a credible, transparent, inclusive election that respects human rights, ”the statement said.

Finally, she encouraged all stakeholders “to secure the electoral process as well as the protection of the physical integrity of candidates and their activists before and after the election”.

Read also Guillaume Soro: “Alassane Ouattara must step back and the law must prevail”

A tense climate since the announcement of the candidacy of the outgoing head of state

Political tension is high in Côte d’Ivoire one month before the election and ten years after the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, born of President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat in the presidential election to Alassane Ouattara, who had kills 3,000. In August, around 15 people were killed in violence after the announcement of President Ouattara’s candidacy for a controversial third term.

Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara, 78, announced in March that he was giving up running for a third term, before changing his mind in August, after the death of his designated dolphin, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.

Ivorian law provides for a maximum of two terms, but the Constitutional Council estimated that with the new Constitution of 2016, President Ouattara’s term counter was reset to zero. This is fiercely contested by the opposition, which calls for a dissolution of the CEI and the Constitutional Council, and calls for civil disobedience.

Read also Presidential in Côte d’Ivoire: the opposition is looking for a strategy

Paris reacts …

Pan-African institutions are not the only ones to worry. France, a former colonial power, said Wednesday that it would be “very vigilant” on the impartiality of the presidential election, while refusing to comment on Alassane Ouattara’s controversial decision to stand for a third term. “We are very vigilant on the way in which the elections will go,” declared the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly.

“There is a democratic process, I am not responsible for appreciating the new Constitution. It would be interference. President Ouattara wished to stand again, it is his free choice, ”he added.

“We want this to happen in the best conditions of calm and that the inhabitants of the Ivory Coast can express themselves very freely”, developed Jean-Yves Le Drian. “Our concern is to ensure that these elections take place in a peaceful manner,” he added.

Read also Blé Goudé: “I appeal for a postponement of the electoral ballot”

More and more voices are raised for a postponement

Politicians are no longer the only ones asking for the election to be postponed. The national platform, a large Ivorian union, asked for the postponement of the presidential election earlier this week, claiming to have “the union resources to make things happen”. “We are in favor of postponing these presidential elections […]. The National Platform demands from the Ivorian political class and particularly from the power in place, the organization of national meetings to determine in a consensual way the conditions of a democratic and peaceful election ”, declared its president Théodore Gnagna Zadi, during a press conference.

“If the organization of such a meeting, the objective of which is to save lives, calls for a postponement of the elections, then we should hardly be attached to the fetishism of dates”, continued Mr. Zadi, whose platform , which brings together some fifty unions from the public and private sectors, was at the origin of a long strike by civil servants which paralyzed the country’s public administration for many weeks in 2017.

An approach also acclaimed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcel Amon Tanoh, who is one of the 40 candidates whose file was rejected by the Constitutional Council. He fears that the presidential election of October 31 will lead to a post-electoral crisis as in 2010-2011. “The elections, if they take place under these conditions, I am afraid that we are heading towards a post-electoral conflict again in Côte d’Ivoire,” he told AFP on Friday.

“Everything must be done to force Mr. Ouattara to sit around a table to discuss, dialogue, negotiate. This is the only way to resolve this post-electoral crisis which is looming on the horizon, ”said the one who was for a long time the chief of staff of the outgoing head of state, Alassane Ouattara. He then became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and left the government in March. “Today, we are already in a pre-election crisis which is much more exacerbated than the pre-election tensions of 2010. In 2010, before the election, there were no deaths. There, we already have deaths, so you can imagine what will be after 2020 with the current tensions, ”he added.

Amon Tanoh, who, like all the opposition calls for a reform of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) and the Constitutional Council, as well as an audit of the electoral lists, considers that the election as planned is not “Credible”. “If the CEI and the Constitutional Council have not reported on the veracity of the sponsorships, and they will not report on the veracity of the ballot boxes, this election will not be credible. “

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose candidacy was rejected for a lack of sponsorships that he contests, claims to have acted on the diplomatic level and asks that the international community “exert pressure” on President Ouattara.

Read also Côte d’Ivoire: from the reign of the “Old” to the war of the heirs

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