Côte d'Ivoire: The Difficult Legacy of Houphouët-Boigny
In order to better understand the origins of the current political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, it is necessary to place recent events within the context of the post-colonial era.
Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Côte d'Ivoire from its independence in 1960 to his death in 1993. Henri Konan Bédié, president of the national assembly succeeded the deceased president in accordance with the Ivorian constitution. In 1995, Henri Konan Bédié remained in power, having been elected with 96.44% of the vote.
Politician Laurent Koudou Gbagbo called a boycott of this presidential election due to reforms that had been implemented to the electoral code. He was elected as a member of parliament in his constituency after his party, the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), won five of the eight seats in the elections.
General Robert Guéï overthrew President Bédié on December 24, 1999, after the latter attempted to change the constitution in his favor.
Presidential elections were then held in 2000 and Guéï was beaten by Laurent Koudou Gbagbo. The elections were marred however, by the elimination of several candidates by the Supreme Court including former president Bédié and politican Alassane Ouattarabecause of ”dubious nationality”, forgery and use of a false identity. During Ouattara's prime ministerial rule under President Houphouët-Boigny, Gbagbo was imprisoned as a political opponent in1992 and sentenced to two years in jail, although he was released after seven months.
The result of the contest was strongly contested by Guéï and some clashes marred this period; he eventually recognized the legitimacy of Gbagbo, thus winning FPI a majority of 91 seats in parliament (against 70 and 16 to the opposition).
While Gbagbo was abroad in September 2002, soldiers made an attempt to overthrow him. During the coup, several assassination attempts took place against political figures including Alassane Ouattara, and several difficult years in Ivorian politics ensued.
Bitter Context for 2010 Elections
It is within this context that elections were organized by the international community in December 2010.MORE
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