I Coast to learn result of vote on new constitution

2016-11-01 08:48
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PHOTOS: Ivorians cast vote for new constitution

Voters in Ivory Coast are weighing in on the country's new constitution, which is expected to be approved despite several violent demonstrations by the opposition.

Abidjan - Ivory Coast is expected to announce on Tuesday the result of an opposition-boycotted weekend referendum on constitutional changes that President Alassane Ouattara says will help end years of instability.

The package put to the country's 6.3 million voters has alarmed opposition leaders and prompted accusations that Ouattara is trying to line up a successor for when his term ends in 2020.

The independent electoral commission was expected to announce the results of the final 15 of 31 voting districts at 13:30 GMT.

Although a victory for the proposals is not seen as being in doubt, given the opposition boycott, questions remain as to how large the turnout will have been and how legitimate the outcome will appear.

The opposition has said it believes only around six or seven percent of voters took part.

Ouattara's revised constitution would create a vice president picked by the president, and set up a senate, a third of whom would be nominated by the head of state.

It would also get rid of a contested clause on national identity that took effect in 2000 and stipulates that both parents of a presidential candidate must be born on Ivorian soil and not have sought nationality in another country.

The issue has contributed to years of unrest in the West African country.

Violent episodes include a coup in 1999, a civil war in 2002 that split the country between its north and south and a bloody post-election crisis in 2010.

The most recent eruption led to months of post-poll bloodshed with then-president Laurent Gbagbo refusing to step down.

Some 3,000 people died and Gbagbo is now on trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ouattara hails from central Ivory Coast but his father was born in neighbouring Burkina Faso and the issue of "Ivorian-ness" raised a hurdle in his bid for the presidency.

He eventually overcame this obstacle through a decree Gbagbo was pressured to sign by the international community.

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

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