06:51 am
27 October 2016

Alassane Ouattara wins Ivory Coast election by massive landslide

President Alassane Ouattara has won a second five-year term in Ivory Coast in an election result that is hoped to draw a line under years of turmoil and a 2011 civil war.

Ouattara won a total of 2,118,229 votes, or more than 83% of ballots cast, said the president of the Independent Electoral Commission, Youssouf Bakayoko, on Wednesday. Sunday’s vote had a turnout of 54.63%, he said.

Ouattara – a former International Monetary Fund official whose leadership has helped the west African nation re-emerge as a rising economic star following a 2011 civil war – faced a divided opposition. In his home department of Kong in the country’s north, where more than 14,000 voters cast ballots, Ouattara won all but 16 votes.

Ivory Coast is divided into 31 regions and the two autonomous districts of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital.

Sunday’s vote was judged to be peaceful and transparent by observers – a positive sign for investors who have flooded into the world’s top cocoa grower, drawn by growth of around 9% over the past three years.

“I would like to congratulate all Ivorians for their maturity and exemplary behaviour,” Ouattara said on Tuesday. “Ivory Coast is resolutely committed to the path of stability and the reinforcement of democracy.”

Ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to accept Ouattara’s 2010 poll victory sparked a conflict that killed 3,000 people. Gbagbo is now awaiting trial before the international criminal court in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity.

Pascal Affi N’Guessan headed the challenge to Outtara in this election for Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

Hardliners disavowed N’Guessan’s candidacy and called for their supporters to boycott the polls. Turnout was visibly lower in regions considered to be Gbagbo’s traditional strongholds.

Three opposition candidates dropped out of the race in the days before the election, alleging it had been rigged and called upon voters to stay home. The CEI dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated.

Simeon Konan Kouadio, one of the six candidates who remained in the race to unseat Ouattara, said his campaign team had been informed of massive fraud but offered no evidence.

Two candidates, Bertin Konan Kouadio and Jacqueline-Claire Kouangoua, conceded defeat on Monday even before official results began to emerge.