I Coast opposition attacks 'undemocratic' new constitution

2016-10-07 09:49
Alassane Ouattara. (File: AP)

Alassane Ouattara. (File: AP)

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Abidjan - At least 23 opposition parties in Ivory Coast on Thursday denounced as "undemocratic" President Alassane Ouattara's new draft constitution, claiming it would jeopardise peace in the country.

Ouattara, 73, was re-elected to a second five-year term in October 2015 promising to draft a new constitution, notably suppressing a clause on national identity that has fuelled bloody civil conflict.

Other proposals include setting up a vice presidency and a senate of which a third of members would be nominated by the president.

The opposition parties called on "Ivorians to defeat this undemocratic initiative that seriously threatens peace and stability".

"You have to vote 'No!'," the coalition's spokesperson Said Morifere Bamba told a news conference, adding that Ivorians were being asked to vote in less than three weeks on a 57-page constitution that "they have not even had time to read".


The new constitution was expected to be examined by a committee on Friday before being adopted by lawmakers next week.

The so-called "Ivorian-ness" clause in the existing charter, which took effect in 2000, stipulates that both parents of a presidential candidate must be born on Ivorian soil, and not have sought nationality in another country.

The clause became widely resented by people in northern Ivory Coast, many of whom have family ties in Burkina Faso and Mali, and raised a hurdle for Ouattara's bid for the presidency.

The tension led to months of post-poll bloodshed in 2010, with then-president Laurent Gbagbo refusing to step down. At least 3 000 people died and Gbagbo is now on trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But the opposition has called for a constitutional convention and objects to giving Ouattara the power to name a vice president, "in reality to choose his successor".

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

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