The Ivorian opposition held its first major rally on Saturday at Abidjan Stadium. Long divided, she presented a united front against President Alassane Ouattara’s controversial candidacy for a third presidential term on October 31.
Around 30,000 people gathered at Abidjan Stadium on Saturday, October 10, to take part in the first major demonstration by the Ivorian opposition, which is trying to form a common front against President Alassane Ouattara’s controversial candidacy. “The whole Ivorian opposition says NO, NO, NO!”, Can be read on the podium in the stadium.
This demonstration brought together for the first time many leaders, from former President Henri Konan Bédié, an 86-year-old candidate for the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI, the largest opposition party) to representatives of the major absentees from President, former President Laurent Gbagbo, on trial in Belgium, and former rebel leader and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, in exile in France and wanted by Ivorian justice.
The former president of the National Assembly, Mamadou Koulibaly, or the former ministers of Alassane Ouattara, Abdallah Albert Mabri Toikeusse and Marcel Amon Tanoh, three politicians whose presidential candidates were rejected by the Constitutional Council, were also rejected.
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There were also “enemy brothers” from the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) founded by Laurent Gbagbo. The former president’s party has been divided for several years between a trend led by former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan and another, “GOR (Gbagbo or nothing) by Assoa Adou, general secretary of the branch considered to be These were hitherto incompatible.
No opposition alliance at present
In his speech, Henri Konan Bédié called on the UN to “address the Ivorian issue” in order to establish “a truly independent and credible electoral body”. Pascal Affi N’Guessan, also a presidential candidate, recalled the “civil disobedience” slogan launched by the opposition and called for a “political transition” in Côte d’Ivoire.
The meeting was overseen by a large police force and the Plateau district (power and business district) where the arena is located was closed to road traffic. The opposition complained about measures to deter activists from going to the arena.
A rally of the ruling party to be held on the same day in the Ivorian economic capital was finally called off.
If it kept to its refusal of President Ouattara’s candidacy, however, the opposition did not agree on an election alliance for the presidential election.
The leaders’ position on whether or not to hold the presidential election on October 31 does not seem unanimous either: a boycott had been mentioned by some, but Henri Konan Bédié and Pascal Affi N’Guessan retained their candidacies.
Official opening of the election campaign on October 15
While the opposition held its first major rally, President Ouattara has visited various regions of the country for several weeks, increasing the number of infrastructure inaugurations.
On Saturday, he continued a tour in the northwest, his stronghold. As a campaign in advance, as the opening of the official election campaign is set for October 15.
Fear of electoral violence is strong in Côte d’Ivoire, ten years after the 2010-2011 electoral crisis, which left 3,000 dead, after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge his electoral defeat against Alassane Ouattara.
About fifteen people died in August in violence that arose in the wake of the announcement of President Ouattara’s candidacy.
Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara, 78, announced in March that he was resigning for a third term before changing in August, after his designated dolphin, Prime Minister Amadou Gon, died in Coulibaly.
The Ivorian constitution provides for a maximum of two terms, but the Constitutional Council estimated that the new constitution in 2016 would restore the president’s mandate from zero to zero, which the opposition disputes.