Ivory Coast Opposition Rejects Electoral Reforms Ahead Next Week’s Presidential Poll

Ahead the October 31 elections in Ivory Coast, opposition parties in the West African country have rejected the government’s offer of concessions, insisting on a boycott of the polls.

The incumbent, President Alassane Ouattara, is seeking a third term – a bid which oppositions said is against the constitution. Ouattara’s supporters claims a constitutional reform earlier in the year has reset the 72-year-old’s tenure.

The opposition have threatened to boycott next week’s polls if Ouattara does not stand down.

The two main opposition candidates – former President Henri Konan Bédié and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – announced the boycott earlier in the month.

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They asked their supporters to block what they described as an electoral coup.

To pacify them, the government offered various concessions, including constitutional reform. On Thursday, 22 October 22, the opposition rejected the concession.

“Opposition candidates are maintaining their policy of civil disobedience and reiterate their request for international mediation,” Maurice Kakou Guikahue, a spokesperson for the opposition, told reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the UN has expressed concern over ongoing violence that has in recent days left at least seven people dead and more than 40 injured.

The violence in the lead-up to the presidential vote on October 31 has raw memories of post-electoral clashes that killed some 3,000 people in 2010-11, when then-president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat to challenger Ouattara.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced concerns over the latest tension, his office said in a statement, calling on all sides to “reject the use of hate speech and the incitement of violence along ethnopolitical lines.”

“He encourages all political actors and their supporters to embrace meaningful dialogue and forge an environment conducive to the holding of an inclusive and peaceful election,” the statement added.

The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday urged opposition parties to “seriously reconsider their decision to boycott the election, and their call on their supporters to engage in civil disobedience”.

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