Ivory Coast’s ruling party has won an absolute majority in parliament, the country’s election commission announced on Tuesday, three days after a peaceful vote raised hopes that the country’s latest violent tensions were behind it.
The West African National Electoral Commission said President Alassane Ouattara’s RHDP party had won a 255-seat majority in the National Assembly.
Saturday’s vote went peacefully and included, for the first time in a decade, all of the country’s most important political actors, which gave hope that the Ivory Coast has begun to emerge from the latest violent tensions.
It was a key test of stability after the violence surrounding the October elections in October, which was boycotted by the opposition and claimed 87 lives in the former French colony.
However, the main opposition PDCI has alleged electoral fraud, while the FPI party for ex-president Laurent Gbagbo had urged its supporters to remain calm and wait for the official results.
“The RHDP has managed to tip many regions in its favor and is in the process of acquiring the status of a national party, beyond its traditional strongholds in the north of the country,” political scientist Sylvain N’Guessan told AFP.
The PDCI opposition, the party of former president Henri Konan Bedie, “seems to be losing momentum”, he said, and seems confident of having fewer seats than in the previous legislature.
The return of Gbagbo’s FPI, or the Ivorian People’s Front, which participated after a decade of boycott, “did not have much of an impact on either the score or the turnout,” N’Guessan said.
” National Reconciliation ”
The FPI had boycotted all votes since Gbagbo was arrested in 2011 in Abidjan and his transfer to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
His arrest followed the violence following the 2010 presidential election that left 3,000 dead.
Gbagbo was acquitted in January 2019 and now lives in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal, although he has announced that he will return home.
Ouattara has recently reached out to his old enemy in an attempt at “national reconciliation” and issued Gbagbo two passports, including a diplomatic passport.
The 79-year-old president outraged opponents last year when he announced he would seek a third term – a move critics said they circumvented constitutional boundaries.
For the legislative elections, Bedie’s PDCI formed an alliance with Together for Democracy and Sovereignty, a coalition including supporters of Gbagbo and was dominated by his FPI.
The results of the last three constituencies were expected on Tuesday, including from the Yopougon area of Abidjan, the largest in the country with almost 500,000 voters out of a total of 7.4 million.
The results from Yopougon will carry heavy symbolic weight because it was previously a large Gbagbo stronghold.
Ouattara’s RHDP has already won several previous strongholds in the PDCI, including in the capital Yamoussoukro.
( Jowharwith AFP)