Tensions are mounting in Côte d’Ivoire with less than six weeks to the presidential election, scheduled for October 31.
Ivorian media reported on Sunday, September 20, that the opposition has decided to engage in a standoff with President Alassane Ouattara to obtain the withdrawal of his candidacy for a third term and a rethinking of the electoral process.
Former head of state and leader of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), Henri Konan Bédié, has led the movement by calling for “civil disobedience”. Two days later, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, whose candidacy was however validated by the Constitutional Council, gave him his support.
However, Adama Bictogo the executive director of the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP, in power) argues that this pressure does not change the strategy of the presidential party; “The election will take place on October 31. And President Alassane Ouattara will be there. ”
“It’s really not our concern. It’s the call of a desperate man who has no political offer. It is also the expression of liability and failure. The opposition is not ready to participate in this competition, so they believe that everything must be questioned. But we are right in our boots. Technically, legally, everything is in place for us to go to the elections,” Bictogo said in reaction to the call for civil disobedience.
Reacting to the preconditions set by the opposition to participate in the October Presidential elections, Bictogo said The problem with this opposition is that it is neither constant nor consistent. A few days ago, the PDCI announced its participation in the central commission of the Independent Electoral Commission [CEI]. He was finally conspicuous by his absence. One day, the opposition goes to the elections, the other not … Once an actor has agreed to submit his candidacy file, he cannot question the entire process.”
The ruling party says it will hold the presidential elections with or without the opposition.
Disagreements have arisen since last month when President Alassane Ouattara declared he would run for a third term. His handpicked successor in July suffered a sudden death.
“We will go to the presidential elections in October with or without the opposition. President Ouattara is ready and will go to these elections alone if necessary,” said Adama Bictogo, executive director of Ouattara’s party.
Ouattara’s main challenger Henry Konan Bédié called for civil disobedience and reform of the electoral commission and the constitutional court, but opposition parties have stopped short of saying they would boycott the poll.
Ivory Coast’s Constitutional Council has cleared Ouattara, former president Bedie and two other candidates to contest in the vote.