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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Second tour Gbagbo-Ouattara en Côte d’Ivoire

by Rosa Moussaoui

Second Round for Gbagbo-Ouattara in the Côte D’Ivoire

Translated Sunday 7 November 2010, by Brian Bartell and reviewed by Derek Hanson

The first results from the presidential election which took place Sunday without any major incidents showed a slight advantage for the current Head of State, Laurent Gbagbo, over the ex-Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.
Abidjan (Côte D’Ivoire) special envoy.

The People of the Côte D’Ivoire will have to return to the polls the 28th of November. After a long wait the scenario of a second round between the current President Laurent Gbagbo (Ivoirian Popular Front, FPI) and Houphouët-Boigny’s former Prime Minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara (Rally of the Republicans, RDR) was confirmed today. Since Tuesday night, pressed by the Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to “not wait for the last official counts to be turned in to declare partial results,” the Independent Electoral Commission began to make public the trends by region. They outline the electoral geography of a country which still is marked by the military-political crisis which has long divided the country in two.

In the North of the country, still under the control of the ex-rebels of the Force Nouvelles, Alassane Ouattara remains ahead of the competition, in particular in the Bandama Valley where Bouaké, the capital of the former rebellion lies, and where the former number two of the IMF should be credited with 49% of the vote. The former President Henri Konan Bédié (Democratic Party of the Côte D’Ivoire, PDCI), while suffering from the decline of the once sole party however profits from the community vote and dominates in the Baoulé region in the center of the country. In the Lakes Region he gained 69%.

The Fears of Post-Electoral Violence Remain

In short, Laurent Gbagbo could supplant his adversaries in his territories in the southeast and in the Lagunes region that includes the economic capital Abidjan and which contains a third of the electorate, but isn’t achieving a breakthrough in the North, as hoped for by his camp.

According to the tallies available midday yesterday, while awaiting the official conclusions of the CEI, which should release the final results soon, Laurent Gbagbo should hold the lead with 37% of the vote versus 34% for Alassane Ouattara and 27% for Henri Konan Bedié. It remains to be seen if the declared union of the latter two, yesterday rivals, today allies, will effectively translate into a transfer of votes in the second round. Nothing is certain and many qualify the alliance as a “façade.”

Despite the vote Sunday, which took place without incident and which was praised by all parties and should help to turn the page on a decade of instability, the fear of post-electoral violence remains alive. Since Monday religious, military and political figures increased their appeals for calm. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, the archbishop of Abidjan invited [the country] to approach “the extremely sensitive phase of the proclamation of the results” with the same “calm” as the vote. In a televised intervention Tuesday night the Chief-of-Staff of the armies, General Philippe Mongou, urged the people of the Côte D’Ivoire to keep “calm and peaceful” and to “go about [their] daily business.” However, yesterday, the markets stayed empty, shops were closed, the streets deserted, and people were not bustling about as usual at the woro-woros and taxi stations.

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