Ivory Coast electoral commission says Ouattara won 3rd term

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (AP) – Ivory Coast’s electoral commission said yesterday that President Alassane Ouattara had overwhelmingly won a third term in office after his two main opponents boycotted the election and called his candidacy illegal.

In a sign of mounting tensions over the vote, both opponents said their homes had come under gunfire overnight. There have been widespread fears that post-election violence could erupt in Ivory Coast, where more than 3,000 people were killed a decade ago followed a disputed vote.

Ouattara received 94.3 per cent of the vote in Saturday’s election, the commission said early yesterday. Turnout was 53.9 per cent, according to election officials, while the opposition has maintained only 10 per cent of Ivorian voters took part.

Ouattara had been expected to easily win the election after leading opposition figures Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bedie called on their supporters to stay home. According to official results released yesterday, they received 0.99 per cent and 1.66 per cent respectively. The only opposition candidate who still took part, Kouadio Konan Bertin, won 1.99 per cent, the commission said.

Critics said Ouattara and his allies had shaped the race long before Election Day – 40 of the 44 potential candidates were disqualified from running, including former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and ex-President Laurent Gbagbo. Ouattara has been in power for nearly a decade and initially said he would not run again, but changed his mind after his party’s candidate died suddenly in July. He maintains that the two-term limit does not apply to him because of a constitutional referendum passed in 2016.

File photo shows Alassane Ouattara casting his vote at a polling station during presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. PHOTO: AP