Ivory Coast to hold elections on December 18

2016-11-04 09:15
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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 will hold parliamentary elections on December 18, the government said on Thursday, after hailing victory in a referendum on constitutional change.

The opposition, which boycotted the last legislative polls in 2011, said it would take part this time.

Thursday's announcement came in the wake of the government's crushing victory in a referendum over a controversial new constitution proposed by President Alassane Ouattara.

In the run-up to Sunday's referendum, Ouattara said the proposed changes were necessary to help end years of instability linked to disputes over national identity while critics labelled the draft as an attempt to line up a successor for when his term ends in 2020.

At least 93% of those who voted on Sunday backed the draft referendum, leading Ouattara to claim a massive endorsement.

Balance of power 

The opposition said the turnout figure of 42% showed that its call for a boycott had been well heeded. It also alleged there had been fraud.

"There are figures that are manifestly fake which don't relate to reality. We have all witnessed the electoral boycott (on Sunday)," said Pascal Affi Nguessan, the leader of the country's main opposition party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

Ivory Coast will formally adopt the new constitution once the results are validated by the Constitutional Council and the president enacts it.

The opposition plans to use the legislative election to change the balance of power in the national assembly, where its 2011 boycott left 90% of seats in the president's camp.

"The battle to mobilise to win the National Assembly has come," said Nguessan, whose FPI party was founded by former president Laurent Gbagbo, now on trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Court

Some 3,000 people were killed during the post-election stand-off.

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

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