Following the declaration of Alassane Ouattara as winner of Ivory Coast presidential election held on Saturday by the country’s electoral commission, the West African nation may be heading for another round of crisis.
The electoral commission early on Tuesday announced that Ouattara has provisionally won a third term in office with 94.27% of the vote.
Kuibiert-Coulibaly Ibrahime, the head of the electoral commission said the final turnout for the Oct. 31 election was at 53.90%.
But the opposition boycotted the polls and called Ouattara’s victory, which gives him a third term, illegitimate.
Recall that the country plunged into a brief civil war in 2010, in which the country lost over 3,000 souls.
The opposition candidates who boycotted the vote – former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – have said they will not recognise a Ouattara victory.
In a joint statement on Monday evening, they announced the creation of a transitional council headed by Bedie.
The results have to be validated by the country’s constitutional council which will declare the final winner after hearing any challenges or complaints of irregularities.
Two major opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run.
Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated. Opposition activists said Ouattara’s decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa.
The activists point to the military coup in Mali, and a successful third term bid by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde.
Ouattara, 78, received over 90% in most districts, although the opposition said his bid was an illegal attempt to hold onto power.
The Ivorian constitution limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara said the approval of a new constitution in 2016 allowed him to restart his mandate.
The disagreement led to clashes in the lead up to the vote, in which at least 30 people died. At least five more were killed on Saturday, officials said.
The world’s top cocoa growing country was spared the widespread violence that many feared would erupt during voting, but many Ivorians fear that the country could experience longer term unrest.
The Carter Center, which monitored Saturday’s election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organise a credible vote.
“The electoral process excluded a large number of Ivorian political forces and was boycotted by part of the population in a volatile security environment,” it said in a statement.
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