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Alassane Ouattara - 2011-20??

Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim of the Dioula people, was elected President on November 28, 2010. A period of fighting ensued after incumbent President Laurento Gbagbo refused to cede power; in May 2011, Ouattara was formally inaugurated. The elections followed 11 years of intermittent violent unrest and sustained international engagement aimed at creating lasting peace and democratic processes in Cote d’Ivoire. Various explosive allegations, rightly or wrongly, informed the views of the Gbagbo-supporting population in southern Coˆte d’Ivoire—and much of Francophone Africa. These are that Ouattara is a foreigner born in Burkina Faso, that together with Burkinabe` President Blaise Compaore´ he was responsible for the 2002 rebellion, that his accession to power would result in the takeover of the country especially by Burkinabe` foreigners, and that historically, he had been ready to advance French interests in Coˆte d’Ivoire.

On February 12, 2010, President Gbagbo announced the dissolution of the government and the CEI, amid claims of fraud during the voter registration process. The decision, as well as frustration regarding several localized cases of mismanagement of the voter list, sparked riots in several cities outside of Abidjan that resulted in at least 12 deaths. Following several weeks of negotiations, a new government was announced and a new head of the CEI was appointed.

After several years of delays, the first round of presidential elections was held on October 31, 2010. The election was hailed by all candidates and observers as peaceful and fair, with nearly 80% voter turnout and no significant irregularities reported. The November 28 runoff between Alassane Ouattara and incumbent President Gbagbo was again characterized by high voter turnout and largely peaceful participation by the Ivoirian people, and Ouattara was declared the winner by the CEI. Credible and accredited observers assessed both rounds as fair and free of irregularities that would have affected the results. Gbagbo refused to cede power, and a period of fighting ensued. Ouattara was formally inaugurated in May 2011.

The year 2013 began with constructive momentum with respect to political dialogue — including within the context of the permanent framework for dialogue, bilaterally between the Government and the former ruling party, the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), and among opposition political parties. The focus was on establishing new mechanisms to advance dialogue and negotiations with the Government. The President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and his Government continued to take steps to further ease political tensions, alleviate insecurity and accelerate economic recovery. In his New Year’s address to the nation, the President underscored the importance of reconciliation and national cohesion and, to that end, expressed his Government’s determination to continue its dialogue with the political opposition and make further conciliatory gestures to those who supported the former regime.

Cote d’Ivoire’s security situation has significantly improved since the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis, although some security incidents, linked to supporters of the former Gbagbo regime, have occurred, mostly in western Cote d’Ivoire. These incidents have not threatened the stability of the Ouattara administration. International organizations have alleged that government crackdowns following incidents of violence have sometimes resulted in violations of human rights. Gbagbo was captured in 2011 and faced trial in The Hague, before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

There is a perception that the Government is unable or unwilling to prosecute Ouattara supporters for crimes committed during the 2011 post-electoral violence, while numerous Gbagbo supporters remained imprisoned or were recently tried for their crimes. In an effort to jumpstart reconciliation and political dialogue, the Government has released several Gbagbo supporters from prison at various times, including some senior leaders of the opposition. In March 2015, former First Lady Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “undermining state security” during the 2011 post-electoral crisis.

The political dialogue between the pro-Gbagbo opposition and the government continues sporadically, however reconciliation has proven to be difficult. Major challenges the Government must still address to maintain political stability include security sector reform, national reconciliation, and equitable non-partisan justice for all those accused of crimes during the 2011 post-election violence. Additionally, an update of the electoral code and voters’ list are both necessary to protect the country from political violence during the election period. Politically motivated demonstrations and strikes by workers’ unions in the education and transport sectors have occurred. In late 2014, thousands of soldiers went on strike protesting back-pay by blocking roads to major cities. The government took quick measures to appease their demands and prevented a further occurrence during 2015.

The ethnic and economic tensions that provoked Ivory Coast's civil war five years earlier flared again in October 2015 as the West African state prepared to hold its first presidential election since the violence that left 3,000 dead and displaced 500,000 others. President Alassane Ouattara was expected to win a second term after overseeing an economic revival that had fueled investment in infrastructure and foreign trade. But the threat of post-poll violence loomed amid growing complaints of inequality. The 2016 elections were expected to be a milestone in solidifying peace, after years of civil war and clashes that marred the previous elections in 2010. The two major parties, the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast and Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front, have both imploded during the months before the election, with several major figures breaking away and deciding to run as independents or form their own political party. Among the candidates are former prime ministers Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Charles Konan Banny, former foreign minister Amara Essy and former parliament speaker Mamadou Koulibaly.

There were eight presidential candidates, including two women, in the 25 October 2016 poll. Ouattara's main challenger during Sunday's election is likely to be Pascal Affi N'Guessan, the leader of Gbagbo's center-left political party and Ivory Coast's only major opposition group, the Ivorian Popular Front. N'Guessan was jailed by Ouattara's government for two years in the wake of the Second Ivorian Civil War. He was accused of crimes against humanity for his role in the violence that followed the 2010 election and awaited trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2016 19:50:22 ZULU