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Ivory Coast

December 16, 2011

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara's Rally of Republicans (RDR), has won a parliamentary majority in last Sunday's elections. The poll was marked by low voter turnout, after a boycott by former President Gbagbo's party.

Ivory Coast President Alassan Ouattara
The win is seen as a major boost for President OuattaraImage: picture alliance / dpa

The Independent Electoral Commission of Ivory Coast has declared the party of incumbent President Alassane Ouattara the winner of the parliamentary election held on December 11.

Ouattara's Rally of Republicans party were the big winners, garnering a total of 127 seats of the 255 that were being contested in the National Assembly. Their main coalition partner, the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) won 77 seats, election commission chairman Youssouf Bakayoko announced on public television. All in all, some 1,100 candidates were vying for 255 legislative seats.

Voters shy away

Turnout in the vote was 36 percent. "This number is still higher than the 2000 elections," Bakayoko said. But it was way down from the turnout seen in November 2010 when more than 80 percent cast their ballot.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front party (FPI) boycotted the elections, ostensibly out of concern about the security situation and the detention of the former president. They have demanded his release from the International Criminal Court as a prerequisite for reconciliation.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo with security guards at the International Criminal Court
Former President Laurent Gbagbo faces charges at the ICCImage: dapd

Facing trial

The ex-president of the leading cocoa producer nation, once seen as a beacon of stability in western Africa, refused to hand over power after losing the November 2010 elections. The political stand-off plunged the country into bloody chaos which left around 3,000 people dead. Gbagbo was later captured in his presidential palace and is now facing charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The court is also investigating other government officials after coming to the conclusion that both sides had committed atrocities.

The election campaign was marred by five deaths, but the voting itself took place with no major incidents. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a congratulatory message, saying it had been "a peaceful and orderly vote." The Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) said, despite the low voter turnout, the elections had been free and fair.

Author: Chrispin Mwakideu (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Susan Houlton / rm