The head of the Ivorian state, Alassane Ouattara, was the Saturday candidate for his party in the October presidential election, which promises to be very tense. The third term he seeks is considered constitutional by his opponents.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara was officially invested in Abidjan on Saturday, August 22, as his party’s candidate in the October presidential election, where he will seek a third term considered constitutional by his opponents.
“I will invest in you on 22 August as a candidate for the RHDP [Rassemblementdes houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix] in the presidential election on October 31, 2020, “said Henriette Diabaté, first vice-president of the ruling party, in front of tens of thousands of supporters gathered at the Houphouët-Boigny stadium. President Ouattara stood by his side and then spoke to him.
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President Ouattara spoke a few minutes later: “We will win”, he assured, and promised “a knockout” with a victory in the first round, as in 2015. He had then collected 83.7% of the vote.
Alassane Ouattara sang this slogan several times and even noticed a sign, taken from the crowd of his followers, on which it was inscribed.
“Violence” condemned by the president
Despite the authorities’ ban on demonstrations, further violence occurred in the country on Friday, especially in Bonoua, which is 50 kilometers from Abidjan, former First First Simone Gbagbo fortress. Shops of “Dioula” traders, originally from the north of the country, which traditionally support Alassane Ouattara, have been targeted by young people in the region according to testimonies from residents.
Speaking at Houphouët-Boigny Stadium, President Ouattara began by condemning this “violence” and saying: “We want peace (…) Let us stop burning (…), put tree trunks in the way. Have meetings! Violence! will not pass, ”he said.
The announcement on August 6 of his candidacy led to protests that degenerated into violence over three days, leaving six dead, one hundred injured and 1,500 displaced. In addition, 69 people were arrested, according to an official report.
The 78-year-old head of state, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2015, originally announced in March that he did not want to stand for re-election and hand over to his prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. But he died suddenly on July 8 of a heart attack and forced Alassane Ouattara to review his plans and drive for a third period.
Like the previous one, the constitution, which was revised in 2016, limits the presidential election to two. On Saturday, Alassane Ouattara returned to the issue of the “third semester”. “There is no retroactivity, nothing prevents me from being a candidate.” And he stressed that the new constitution was also favorable to his main opponents: “Without this constitution, no one could have been a candidate,” he said.
Alassane Ouattara’s supporters claim that the audit has restored the number of seats to zero, but his opponents believe that a third candidacy is unconstitutional.
“He can not be a candidate and he knows it”
“Constitutionally, President Alassane Ouattara cannot have a third term. He cannot be a candidate and he knows it,” protests Maurice Kakou Guikahué, number two of the main opposition movement, the Côte d’Ivoire Democratic Party (PDCI).
“It’s a dangerous candidacy that arrives in a volatile context,” said opponent and presidential candidate Pascal Affi N’Guessan, 67, former Prime Minister Gbagbo Prime Minister, who was ousted in 2011 after several months of deadly crisis after valet.
Pascal Affi, head of a faction of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) founded by Laurent Gbagbo, called on Alassane Ouattara to “give up the third term to come out of the political arena with dignity” and say he fears otherwise “that the future is not gloomy, both for him and for the Ivory Coast ”.
The October 31 poll promises to be tense, with the Independent Electoral Commission rejecting appeals from former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro in recent hours, questioning their deletion of the election. Guillaume Soro, who calls himself a candidate despite living in exile, has announced his desire to appeal to the courts.
Guillaume Soro, who helped Alassane Ouattara come to power, lives in France after his conviction of Ivorian justice to 20 years in prison for “hidden embezzlement of public funds”.
As for former President Laurent Gbagbo, it is the big unknown from the vote: acquitted in the first instance by the International Criminal Court, where he was accused of crimes against humanity, he is waiting in Brussels for a possible appeal. His supporters are hoping for a candidacy.