Ivory Coast: Two presidents sworn in

2010-12-05 08:12
Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara is seen during his swearing-in ceremony at the Gulf hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP)

Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara is seen during his swearing-in ceremony at the Gulf hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Abidjan - The two candidates in Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election took dueling oaths of office after each claimed victory, as the political crisis spiraled out of control and renewed unrest in this country once split in two by civil war.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo on Saturday defied calls from the United States, France and the United Nations to concede defeat, wrapping himself in the Ivorian flag as he was sworn in for another term. Hours later, opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara announced that he too had taken his own oath.

Saturday's developments leave Ivory Coast with two men who both claim to be president, furthering inflaming the political chaos in the West African nation whose once-prosperous economy was destroyed by the brief 2002-2003 civil war.

US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say Ouattara is the rightful winner and that his victory must be acknowledged. The top UN official in Ivory Coast is also standing by results released on Thursday by the country's election commission that put Ouattara ahead.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep concern over the continuing standoff," his spokesperson said in a statement Saturday.

Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader who had served in a unity government with Gbagbo since a 2007 peace deal, said Saturday he was backing Ouattara, who is wildly popular in the formerly rebel-held north. Ouattara said his first act as president was to reappoint Soro.

"These last days have been difficult but I can tell you now that Ivory Coast is in good hands," Ouattara said just hours after Gbagbo held his inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace.

At his swearing-in, Gbagbo renewed allegations that his supporters had been intimidated in the north, repeating the rationale used by the country's constitutional council to throw out a half million ballots that were cast in Ouattara strongholds.

"You think that you can cheat, stuff ballot boxes and intimidate voters and that the other side won't see what is going on," Gbagbo said.

Army, rebel support

Ivory Coast's long-awaited presidential election was meant to restore stability in what was once one of the most affluent countries in Africa. Instead, the election has cast a growing shadow as the country now faces two political rivals who each claim to be leading the country.

Each has his own army, his own support network and his own legal framework for governing. Gbagbo has the support of the regular army, while Ouattara is supported by the New Forces rebels. Gbagbo is supported by the many of the country's most important institutions including the constitutional council and the state media, while Ouattara is backed with foreign endorsements.

Gbagbo says he is the rightful winner of the runoff vote, citing the Ivorian constitution that gives ultimate authority on the issue to the country's constitutional council, which declared him the winner.

However, Ouattara points to the 2007 peace deal, which states that the United Nations must certify the election results. The U.N. maintains the vote was credible, and that Ouattara won the presidential election.

On Saturday, Ouattara supporters took to the streets, burning tires and a table in one neighborhood.

"The risk of violence between supporters of the two parties, as well as repression by Ivorian security forces against real or perceived supporters of Ouattara, is very high," Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The country was placed on lockdown immediately after the commission announced Ouattara's win on Thursday, with a decree read on state TV saying the nation's air and land borders had been closed.

A nationwide curfew keeps people off the streets every night at 19:00 and all foreign media have been pulled from radio and television, leaving Ivorians with only Gbagbo's version of events, repeated incessantly on state television.

The only station reporting Ouattara's victory was UN radio, which was briefly pulled from the air Saturday morning, before it began broadcasting again on a different frequency a few hours later.

Gbagbo's five-year mandate expired in 2005 and the country's first election in a decade was delayed multiple times. He claimed first that the country was too volatile and that security could not be assured. He later cited technicalities like the composition of the voter roll.

The election went ahead in October but then headed to a runoff vote last Sunday. The country's election commission announced Thursday that Ouattara had won. However, new results released Friday on national television by a Gbagbo loyalist who heads the constitutional council said that the incumbent president had in fact been re-elected.

A former International Monetary Fund economist, Ouattara became the icon of Ivory Coast's downtrodden immigrant community in a nation that became a magnet in the region because of its prosperity. Ouattara, born in the north, had been prevented from running in previous elections after accusations that he was not Ivorian, and that he was of Burkinabe origin.

- SAPA

Read more on:    alassane ouattara  |  laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Mbete: Nkandla is a holy place

Some of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remarks about President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home amounted to interference “with a man’s kraal”, says ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Rondebosch - 12:58 PM
    Road name: Main Road Southbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Rosebank and Newlands
  • Thursday Cape Town - 12:49 PM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street Outbound
    DELAYS between Strand Street and Elevated Freeway
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.