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One person died and several were injured during opposition protests two weeks before the presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire. The demonstrators reject in particular the candidacy of the outgoing president, Alassane Ouattara, for a third term. This violence brings back the specter of the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011.
Tensions multiply in Côte d’Ivoire as it approaches the presidential election October 31. One person died and several were injured on Monday October 19 during demonstrations of opposition and while a West African diplomatic mission called on power and opponents to make “considerable efforts”.
“There was one death (…) and a dozen seriously injured” in Bounoua (60 km east of Abidjan), former stronghold of former first lady Simone Gbagbo, told the AFP Jean-Paul Améthier, mayor (opposition) of this city, accusing the police of being responsible.
The demonstrators, mostly young, had blocked the road which connects Abidjan to Ghana to “respect the slogan of boycott” of the opposition, continued the mayor. They were dispersed by the police. “The situation returned to calm at the beginning of the afternoon”, according to the mayor.
In Abidjan, clashes took place in the morning between the police and striking students who demonstrated at the call of the powerful Fesci union, close to the opposition, to protest against school and university fees, a noted an AFP journalist.
Incidents also took place in Dabou (50 km from Abidjan), Divo (200 km from Abidjan) and Yamoussoukro, according to witnesses and a security source.
“Reconsider the boycott”
This new violence comes after at least two people died this weekend in intercommunal clashes linked to the political situation in Bongouanou (200 km north of Abidjan), stronghold of one of the opposition candidates, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, former Prime Minister of Laurent Gbagbo.
The opposition on October 15 called on its activists to boycott electoral operations and the campaign, claiming not to be “concerned” by the “electoral process”. The opposition has not yet formally withdrawn its candidates for the October 31 presidential election.
Leaving the doubt on a boycott of the election for weeks, she calls for a reform of the Constitutional Council and the Independent Electoral Commission, “subservient” to power according to her.
A diplomatic mission of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which met Sunday and Monday with power and the opposition, “urged candidates and political parties to make considerable efforts to achieve a agreement concerning the election “.
Led by Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Botchway, the ECOWAS delegation, on mission in Abidjan for the second time in a week, also “urged (opposition) candidates to seriously reconsider their decision to boycott the election and calling on their supporters to engage in civil disobedience to protest against the electoral process.
The opposition believes that the president Alassane Ouattara does not have the right to run for a third term and disputes the rejection of the candidacies of heavyweights in Ivorian politics, in particular those of former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader and ex-Prime Minister Guillaume Soro .
Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara announced in March that he was giving up running for a third term, before changing his mind in August, after the death of his designated runner-up, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
The Ivorian fundamental law provides for a maximum of two terms, but the Constitutional Council estimated that with the new Constitution adopted in 2016, the outgoing president’s term counter was reset to zero.
About 15 people died in August in violence following the announcement of his candidacy and clashes took place in several localities after the announcement by the Constitutional Council of the list of candidates selected for the ballot.
Fears of violence are great for the presidential election of October 31, ten years after the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, born of President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognize his electoral defeat against Alassane Ouattara, who had left 3,000 dead and who had arisen after a decade of tension.