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THREATS TO CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN COTE D’IVOIRE: AN OVERVIEW

Cote d’Ivoire is one of six ECOWAS member states scheduled to hold elections in 2020. The 31 October vote will be the fifth presidential election since the death of the ‘pere foundateur de la nation’ (father of the nation) Felix Houphouet Boigny in 1993. It will be held against the backdrop of 2011 post-electoral crisis, which revealed a deep-seated cleavages among the
ethnic groups in Cote d’Ivoire.

The poll is expected to be keenly contested between leading political parties; the Parti Democratique de la Cote d’Ivoire – Rassemblement Democratique Africain (PDCI), Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) and ruling coalition, Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP).


The political context

In recent months the Ivorian political context has been characterised by contestation among the political stakeholders on matters around the electoral code, the eligibility of presidential candidacies, the voter register, implementation of the constitutionals reforms and the composition of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); which opposition parties have
denounced as non-inclusive, imbalanced and partisan.

Though the African Court on Human and People’ Right has ordered the government to amend the relevant provisions of the electoral code relating to the composition of the IEC, recent reforms by the government have not appeased the opposition parties complaints. Despite the re-composition of the IEC to allow for a fairer representation of political parties, PDCI has refused to send their representative to the central IEC.

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