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15.10.2020 Ivory Coast

Events leading up to Ivory Coast election boycott

Ivory Coast.  By  (AFP)
LISTEN OCT 15, 2020
Ivory Coast. By (AFP)

Leading opposition figures called Thursday for a boycott of Ivory Coast's upcoming election after President Alassane Ouattara shook the country by declaring that he would run for a third term.

The president's U-turn, having said he would step aside, sparked a violent response on the streets stirring memories of a brief civil war that erupted after then-president Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede to Ouattara after elections in 2010.

Here is a timeline of this key period in the runup to the October 31 poll:

Ouattara steps aside

On March 5, 2020, Ouattara, 78, announces he will not run for a third term in order to make way for "the younger generation". It ends months of speculation over whether he would seek another mandate.

Coulibaly steps in

In mid-March, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly is nominated as the ruling RHDP party's candidate.

Sudden death

On July 8, Coulibaly dies unexpectedly from a heart attack, plunging the country into uncertainty.

Ouattara will run

On August 6, Ouattara finally announces he will seek re-election in October.

The opposition slam the decision, saying it is against the constitution, which allows two terms, but Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.

Protests and violence

Ouattara's announcement triggers protests that turn violent, leaving around 15 people dead.

On August 22, Ouattara is formally chosen by his party to run for a third term.

Gbagbo and Soro candidates

On September 3, Gbagbo as well as former rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro also file their candidacies.

The ex-president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, is officially nominated as candidate for his party on September 12.

Validated and rejected

On September 14, the country's top court authorises only four candidacies out of 44 applications it received. It validates Ouattara's bid but bars Gbagbo and Soro.

Boycott call

Former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan and president Henri Konan Bedie -- two leading opposition candidates -- call for an "active boycott" of the vote, which they brand "illegal".

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