Cote D’Ivoire: Opposition boycott stirs tension
By John Eche
The boycott by the main political opposition of Saturday’s presidential poll is stirring tension in the Francophone nation of Cote D’Ivoire, The Difference can confirm.
According to the opposition parties, they are pulling out of the process because they do not believe there is a level playing field. They have also alleged that the electoral commission is not independent.
The elections, in which incumbent President Alasane Ouattara is seeking a third term in office, has seen 40 of the 44 presidential contenders disqualified by the electoral commission. Among those disqualified are notable figures like former President Laurent Gbagbo, Henri Konan Bedie and Guillaume Soros.
Mediation efforts by the regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to avert the boycott do not seem to have materialised.
About 30 people have already died since President Ouattara re-entered the presidential contest in August following the sudden death of his then Prime Minister and designated successor. The prayer and hope is that things would not degenerate to 2010 levels where disagreements over the elections outcome then had led to a civil war.
Election violence is become a quite troubling blight in the democratic experience of several West African nations with Mali and Guinea being two other recent examples.