Campaigns Kick off in Ivory Coast Presidential Elections

The process that may secure President Alassane Ouattara his third term bid kicked off officially on Thursday with campaigns ahead of this month’s elections.

Ouattara, who won a contentious election in 2020 and has done two five-year terms as allowed by the West African country’s constitution, is seeking a re-election.

Opposition parties have said the bid is illegal, but 78-year-old Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 amendment of the constitution reset the limit on the number of terms.

The parties have also called for civil disobedience and violent demonstrations to protest the attempt by the incumbent.

No fewer than 15 people are already dead in the protests.

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Tens of thousands of people rallied against Ouattara’s move in the commercial capital, Abidjan, at the weekend. “All the Ivorian opposition say No, No, No,” was the message displayed at the rally.

Three other candidates – 86 -year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie; former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan and former parliamentarian Kouadio Konan Bertin – are all seeking to defeat incumbent Ouattara at the October 31 polls.

The constitutional council rejected a further 40 would-be candidates including former president Laurent Gbagbo, 75, and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, 47, both of whom played key roles in the crisis that engulfed the country after disputed elections in 2010.

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Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague after being cleared in January 2019 of crimes against humanity.

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