By Amos Fofung
The reelection of President Alassane Ouattara for a third term in office risks plunging Ivory Coast back into civil war as post-electoral violence continues to brew across the country.
This follows Saturday’s polls that saw Ouattara named winner with some 94.27% of the votes by to the electoral commission. His opponents said his bid for a third term was illegal and the results were skewed by an opposition boycott
Two major opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run. Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated in the election yet data from the electoral commission showed turnout at 57%.
The opposition candidates who boycotted the vote – former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – have said they will not recognize Ouattara’s victory.
In a joint statement on Monday evening, they announced the creation of a National Transitional Council presided by Bedie.
“The council will have a mission to prepare the framework for a credible and transparent presidential election. It will name a government in the coming hours,” N’Guessan said in a news conference.
According to a communique from the jointed political parties announcing the establishment of the council, Ouattara’s reelection was marred by several irregularities from ballot stuffing to outright attacks and assassinations perpetrated against opposition supporters.
The opposition parties declared Ivory Coast presidency as vacant, insisting that Ouattara is an illegitimate candidate. Note that Ivory Coast’s constitution allows presidents to stand for two terms. Ouattara says the approval of a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate, which the opposition disputes.
Urging Ivorians to remain continually heed their civil disobedience calls, the opposition candidate revealed that in the hours ahead the council will set up a transitional government to manage the country until fresh and credible elections are organized.
“The National Transitional Council will seek to – prepare the framework for the organization of a fair, transparent and inclusive presidential election; set up, in the coming hours, a transitional government; convene a national meeting for national reconciliation with aim the return of peace to Côte d’Ivoire,” the communique read in part.
On Monday, gunshots were heard in the upmarket Cocody neighborhood of Abidjan, the commercial capital, shattering the tense calm that had prevailed through election day and the day after. Reports hold that the severe gunfire was heard in the localities of the opposition leaders.
Later, on Twitter, Bedie said his Cocody home had been among those of opposition members that had been attacked by heavy weapons but gave no details.