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The Ivorian opposition held a first big meeting on Saturday at the Abidjan stadium. Long divided, she presented a united front against the controversial candidacy of President Alassane Ouattara for a third presidential term on October 31.
Some 30,000 people gathered on Saturday 10 October at the Abidjan stadium to attend the first major rally of the Ivorian opposition, who seeks to form a united front against the controversial candidacy of President Alassane Ouattara. “All the Ivorian opposition says NO, NO, NO!”, Could one read on the podium of the stadium.
This demonstration brought together for the first time many leaders, from former President Henri Konan Bédié, an 86-year-old candidate for the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI, the main opposition party) to representatives of the major absentees from the presidential, former President Laurent Gbagbo, on parole in Belgium, and the former rebel leader and ex-Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, in exile in France and wanted by Ivorian justice.
The former president of the National Assembly, Mamadou Koulibaly, or the former ministers of Alassane Ouattara, Abdallah Albert Mabri Toikeusse and Marcel Amon Tanoh, three political figures whose presidential candidacies were rejected by the constitutional council, were also the.
There were also the “enemy brothers” of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) founded by Laurent Gbagbo. The party of the former president has been divided for years between a trend led by former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan and another, the “GOR (Gbagbo or nothing) of Assoa Adou, secretary general of the branch considered as These were so far irreconcilable.
No opposition electoral alliance for the moment
In his speech, Henri Konan Bédié called on the UN to “take up the Ivorian issue” to set up “a truly independent and credible electoral body”. Pascal Affi N’Guessan, also presidential candidate, recalled the slogan of “civil disobedience” launched by the opposition and called for a “political transition” in Côte d’Ivoire.
The meeting was supervised by a large police force and the Plateau district (power and business district) where the stadium is located was closed to road traffic. The opposition complained of measures to discourage activists from going to the stadium.
A counter-meeting of the ruling party which was to be held the same day in the Ivorian economic capital was finally canceled.
If it rallied behind its refusal of President Ouattara’s candidacy, the opposition did not however agree on an electoral alliance for the presidential election.
The position of its leaders on whether or not to hold the presidential election on October 31 does not seem unanimous either: a boycott had been mentioned by some, but Henri Konan Bédié and Pascal Affi N’Guessan maintained their candidatures.
Official opening of the electoral campaign on October 15
While the opposition held its first big meeting, President Ouattara has been making visits to different regions of the country for several weeks, increasing the number of infrastructure inaugurations.
On Saturday, he continued a tour in the northwest, his stronghold. Like a campaign ahead of time, since the opening of the official electoral campaign is set for October 15.
The fear of electoral violence is strong in Côte d’Ivoire, ten years after the electoral post crisis of 2010-2011 which left 3,000 dead, after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge his electoral defeat against Alassane Ouattara.
About 15 people died in August in violence following the announcement of President Ouattara’s candidacy.
Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara, 78, 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 dolphin, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
The Ivorian constitution provides for a maximum of two terms but the Constitutional Council estimated that with the new Constitution of 2016, the counter of the terms of the president in office was reset to zero, which the opposition disputes.