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Presidential elections to be held in Cote D’Ivoire


Presidential elections to be held in Cote D’Ivoire

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Photo: Financial Times

Cote d’Ivoire will hold presidential elections today. Incumbent President Alassane Ouattara is running for a third term in a controversial campaign.

The 2016 Ivorian Constitution limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara has claimed he can run because the new constitution reset his term limits. The Constitutional Council also disqualified 40 of the 44 candidates, including Ouattara’s main rivals, former president Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillame Soro. This led the remaining opposition candidates to call for a boycott of the election—only 41.5% of registered voters picked up their ID cards.

Ouattara had been credited with bringing stability to the country after electoral violence in 2010 and overseeing an annual GDP growth rate of 8% and increased foreign investment. However, critics have pointed to his autocratic tendencies and the country’s high poverty rate, which foreign investment and GDP growth have not curbed.

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Expect Ouattara to be re-elected and for the opposition to protest the legitimacy of the result. There is likely to be instability in the aftermath of the vote, which could weaken public faith in the country’s democratic institutions. However, Cote d’Ivoire’s now unified security forces will quell unrest, making a repeat of 2010’s tumult unlikely.

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