Ivory Coast president on the verge of landslide victory, opposition protests

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: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara speaks next to his wife Dominique after casting their votes at a polling station during the presidential election in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara fringed closer to maintaining a landslide election victory; partial tallies showed on Monday. However, opponents said his bid for a third term was illegal.

The president has been named winner of all constituencies announced so far, most with more than 90% of the vote, after a bitter presidential poll damaged by deadly violence.

Two prominent opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to participate in Saturday’s election protest at Ouattara’s decision to run. Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated.

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.

Opposition activists say his decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa less than three months after a military coup in neighboring Mali.

The Carter Center, which monitored the election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organize a credible vote.

“The electoral process excluded a large number of Ivorian political forces and was boycotted by part of the population in a volatile security environment,” it said in a statement.

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 an Ouattara victory.

In a joint statement on Monday evening, the opposition said they have created a 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.

The country’s commercial capital Abidjan was calm during the election and the days that followed.

Inland, however, more sporadic violence broke out Saturday as youths clashed in opposition strongholds, killing at least five people. Cocoa farmers said they were staying away from their plantations due to insecurity.

The electoral commission has released nearly 50% of the results, with more due later on Monday.

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