Ivory Coast opposition urges ‘transition’ after vote

Opposition leaders in Ivory Coast are demanding a “civil transition”, following Saturday’s presidential poll that their parties boycotted.

Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bédié say it was illegal for President Alassane Ouattara to stand for a third term as it broke rules on term limits.

But the president’s supporters dispute this, citing a constitutional change in 2016 which they say means his first term effectively did not count.

Vote counting is still under way.

At least 16 people have been killed since riots broke out in August after President

Ouattara said he would run again following the sudden death of his preferred successor.

At least two people were killed during Saturday’s vote.

Key opposition figures are urging mass protests to block what they describe as a “dictatorship”.

Mr N’Guessan said on Sunday: “Opposition parties and political groups call for the start of a civil transition.”

“[We] note the end of President Alassane Ouattara’s mandate on  October 31 and call on the international community to take note,” he added, saying a civil transition was needed to “create the conditions for a fair, transparent and inclusive election.”

Several polling stations were ransacked in opposition strongholds on Saturday and election materials were burned.

In the eastern town of Daoukro, protesters erected roadblocks. Meanwhile tear gas was used to push away demonstrators who gathered close to where the president cast his ballot in the main city, Abidjan.

At least two monitors from the independent election group Indigo Côte d’Ivoire were attacked, the Washington Post reports. It quotes the group as saying 21per cent of polling stations were closed during the day.

But the electoral commission head called the disturbances on Saturday “minimal”, saying they “only affected 50 polling stations out of 22,381”.

Some 35,000 security officers were deployed across the country to transport election materials and ensure safety, the security minister said.

After voting in Abidjan on Saturday, Mr Ouattara called for an end to the protests.

“I call on those who called for civil disobedience, which led to the loss of life, to stop,” he said.

“They should stop because Ivory Coast needs peace, these are criminal acts and we hope that all this can stop, so that after the election this country may continue on its course of progress, which it has enjoyed over the last few years.” -BBC

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