Ivory Cost could be headed for a lugubrious political quagmire following a sudden change of mind by President Alassane Ouattara to seek re-election yet in May he had publicly stated he wouldn’t.
“I would like to solemnly announce, that I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election of October 31, 2020 and to transfer power to a younger generation,” President Ouattara said on May 5th this year.
Opposition leaning lawyers in Ivory Cost are confused with what to base on to legally challenge the 3rd term bid by President Alassane Ouattara.
Last night at midnight was the deadline for submissions of bids by Presidential aspirants. A total of 36 aspirants have been confirmed by the country’s electoral body.
Ivoirians will head to polls in the next two months to choose their new leader. It is unclear though, whether incumbent leader 78-year-old Alassane Ouattara is eligible to run for a third term. He has been in power since 2011.
“Article 55 of the constitution is very clear,” says Alexandre Didier, coordinator of the non-governmental organisation Tournons La Page or Let’s Turn The Page.
According to analysts the Ivorian constitution limits the president to two terms. However, Mr. Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock. His opponents beg to differ.
“The President of the Republic is elected for a five year-term by direct universal suffrage. He can only be reelected once. That excludes a third mandate,” Alexandre said.
According to the director of the Africa program at Chatham House this whole confusion is caused by divergent interpretation of the constitution by each side.
“Therefore depending on what political position you stand, you will interpret it in a particular direction. It’s that ambiguity that is not helpful,” Vines said.
Technically the new constitution retains the two-term limit, but says nothing regarding terms served prior to its adoption.