Ivory Coast votes for president despite areas of unrest

By Aaron Ross and Ange Aboa ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast citizens cast their ballots in a largely peaceful presidential vote on Saturday but opposition calls to disrupt or boycott the process caused pockets of unrest in a tense standoff over President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term. The streets of the largest city Abidjan were quiet and voting went smoothly in most districts, in contrast to the violent run-up to the election

Reuters November 01, 2020 02:10:48 IST
Ivory Coast votes for president despite areas of unrest

Ivory Coast votes for president despite areas of unrest

By Aaron Ross and Ange Aboa

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast citizens cast their ballots in a largely peaceful presidential vote on Saturday but opposition calls to disrupt or boycott the process caused pockets of unrest in a tense standoff over President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term.

The streets of the largest city Abidjan were quiet and voting went smoothly in most districts, in contrast to the violent run-up to the election. The vote is seen as a test of stability in the West African nation, which has one of the continent's fastest-growing economies.

"There was fear but it has not stopped us from coming out," said businesswoman Djenebou Toure, sitting with friends outside a polling station in Adjame district.

But efforts to obstruct voting led to clashes and the vandalisation of polling stations in other parts of the country, although the opposition and the authorities gave differing accounts of the impact of the disruption.

"Apart from a few isolated places - a dozen or so - the vote is going well," Ouattara told journalists as he voted in Abidjan.

Out of over 22,300 polling stations, 30-40 were vandalised, according to the electoral commission.

The opposition said whole swathes of the country had not participated in the vote or had been prevented from doing so. Candidate Pascal Affi N'Guessan said they estimated around 12 people had died as a result of the civil disobedience campaigns.

A police spokesman said there was no immediate information on the number of casualties. Clashes in the last 24 hours have caused at least one death, a police source said earlier.

Opponents of 78-year-old Ouattara say he is breaking the law by running again because the constitution limits presidents to two terms, and is jeopardising hard-earned economic gains in the country, the world's top cocoa producer.

"Ivorians refused to join in with this farce of an election," said N'Guessan, who called for the boycott along with fellow candidate, former president Henri Konan Bedie.

Ouattara says he can run again under a new constitution approved in 2016, and is doing so only because his handpicked successor died unexpectedly in July. He is seen as likely to win.

Polls closed as scheduled and vote-counting started soon after 6 p.m. (1800 GMT), according to Reuters witnesses in Abidjan.

Violence linked to the election has killed 30 people since August and brought back memories of the 2010 presidential vote, which unleashed a brief civil war killing 3,000 people after Ouattara's predecessor Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down.

Critics call Ouattara's candidacy a new blow to West African democracy following a military coup in Mali in August and a successful third-term bid this month by the president of Guinea, Alpha Conde.

(Additional reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Aaron Ross and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Edward McAllister, Ros Russell and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Eyewall of climate 'bomb' Iota brings catastrophic winds to Central America
Business

Eyewall of climate 'bomb' Iota brings catastrophic winds to Central America

By Gustavo Palencia and Ismael Lopez TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Hurricane Iota began whipping a remote coastal area of Nicaragua with catastrophic winds, storm surges and rain on Monday evening, as the region's leaders blamed climate change for destruction that is pushing millions closer to hunger. Iota was due to crash through northeastern Nicaragua's Miskito region overnight, packing maximum sustained winds of 160 miles (260 km) per hour, having reached Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the U.S

Egypt showcases scores of 2,500-year-old coffins
World

Egypt showcases scores of 2,500-year-old coffins

SAQQARA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt on Saturday showcased more than 100 coffins dating back 2,500 years, the latest and largest find this year in the vast burial ground of the Saqqara Necropolis.     The 26th Dynasty coffins - sealed, finely painted and well-preserved - were of a higher quality than previous finds there, said the secretary-general of the supreme council of antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, suggesting they belonged to higher ranking families.

Ukraine's health minister tests positive for COVID-19 as cases rise
World

Ukraine's health minister tests positive for COVID-19 as cases rise

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Saturday he had tested positive for COVID-19, shortly after announcing the country had posted a record number of new cases in a single day. "This is a war, every day the virus takes the lives of Ukrainians," Stepanov told a televised briefing at which he said 12,524 new cases had been registered in the previous 24 hours, up from the record of 11,787 a day earlier