Ivory Coast heads for legislative election on date opposition parties dislike
The resource-rich, coup-prone country elects its 255-seat National Assembly on a date that opposition parties say is too soon. They want more time to prepare for the vote. President Alassane Ouattara appears unlikely to yield on the date, opening the door to more unrest in the former French colony.
The previous National Assembly elections, held in 2016, saw the presidential coalition, the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) win more than 50 per cent of the National Assembly seats.
So far, push back on the March date does not include boycotts. The two main opposition parties, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), the party of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, and the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) have signaled that they will contest the election.
Presidential elections on Oct 31, 2020, which Ouattara won, were marred by unrest and an opposition boycott. His critics said that by bidding for a third term, he had sought to subvert two-term constitutional limits. Ouattara argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution reset his term counter to zero, allowing him to seek a third term.
The pre-and post-election violence claimed at least 85 lives, with around 500 injured, according to an official toll cited in Africa News. The bloodshed revived traumatic memories of the aftermath of disputed elections in 2010, which killed over 3,000 people. Ivory Coast’s opposition leader and former president, Henri Konan Bédié, has called for the release of all people who were arrested in protests held before and after the elections.