Ivory Coast silent revolt with few votes

2011-12-12 20:18

Abidjan - The low turnout in Ivory Coast elections amounted to a "silent revolt" that had deprived President Alassane Ouattara of legitimacy, a spokesperson for deposed leader Laurent Gbagbo said on Monday.

Justin Kone Katinan claimed that Sunday's polls had seen a record low turnout of 20% and warned the widely anticipated landslide by Ouattara's party would be discredited.

The electorate "refused to confer legitimacy to his illegally acquired regime", said Kone.

With Gbagbo in a Dutch cell facing charges of crimes against humanity, his long-time rival Ouattara was expected to cruise to victory in the first vote since their 2010 electoral tussle brought the country to the brink of war.

The vote passed without any of the violence many observers had feared but the electoral commission said estimates showed a turnout of about 35%.

Official results are due by mid-week.

"Terrorised by Alassane Ouattara's weapons, Ivorians have expressed by this silent revolt their disavowal for Ouattara's illegal transfer of president Laurent Gbagbo," the spokesperson said.

Gbagbo's party had called for a boycott of the parliamentary polls and complained that pro-Ouattara candidates had been campaigning with armed escorts that amounted to militias.

Gbagbo, who had been detained in Ivory Coast since his arrest in April, was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on November 30.

Ouattara, who had won November 2010 polls but only took the oath in May after months of deadly conflict, has justified the transfer as necessary closure for his country while critics argue it ruled out reconciliation.

"Necessary reconciliation cannot come about without the effective presence and contribution" of Gbagbo, Katinan said.

The former strongman awaits an ICC hearing to confirm charges against him on four counts of crimes against humanity, including rape and murder, over the post-election violence that the UN says killed some 3 000 people.