Ivorian parliamentary elections to be held

Cote d’Ivoire will hold parliamentary elections today. Today’s vote will determine whether President Alassane Ouattara’s party, the Houphouetist Rally for

Cote D'Ivoire Elections

Photo: Luc Gnago/Reuters

Cote d’Ivoire will hold parliamentary elections today.

Today’s vote will determine whether President Alassane Ouattara’s party, the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RDHP), retains a parliamentary majority after Ouattara’s contentious October 2020 reelection. The elections will be the first since 2010 to feature significant opposition participation. The country’s two largest opposition parties—the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast (PDCI), which recently split from the RDHP, and the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI)—have allied to oppose RDHP candidates.

While Ouattara’s decade-long tenure has seen Cote d’Ivoire strengthen its national infrastructure, it has also been criticised as politically repressive. Addressing such criticism, Ouattara recently granted exiled former president and FPI leader Laurent Gbagbo permission to return to the country.

Though Gbabgo’s prospective return will likely galvanise voter turnout, expect the RDHP to retain its majority. The FPI holds just three of the 255 parliamentary seats and lacks the RDHP’s financial resources. Intra-PDCI disputes over the party’s leadership have left it in a poor campaigning position. In the medium-term, expect Ouattara’s efforts at conciliation to cease with electoral victory and for post-election protests and reprisals to worsen regional and religious tensions between the country’s predominantly Muslim north and Christian south.

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