Ivory Coast votes in local, regional polls seen as test for presidential race

© Luc Gnago, Reuters

Ivory Coast was voting Saturday in local and regional elections set to gauge support for the ruling party and the opposition two years ahead of a presidential poll.

The three leading political groups are vying for seats in 201 districts and 31 regions in the West African nation, a regional economic power and leading cocoa exporter.

"It will allow you to see their strengths and weaknesses before the presidential battle in 2025," political analyst Geoffroy Kouao told AFP.

Two big opposition parties have teamed up in many areas to take on the governing RHDP party, which won control of 18 of the 31 regions five years ago.

The elections are the first since former president Laurent Gbagbo returned to Ivory Coast in June 2021 after being acquitted by the International Criminal Court on human rights charges linked to post-electoral violence in 2011.

Read more‘Glad to return to Ivory Coast,’ says Gbagbo after much-awaited homecoming

Gbagbo was not able to vote on Saturday however, after being struck from the electoral roll due to a conviction in Ivory Coast linked to the 2011 crisis.

Voting began at 8 am (0800 GMT) in calm conditions and polling was to end at 1700 GMT.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Ivory Coast's ruling party wins majority in peaceful parliamentary vote
‘Glad to return to Ivory Coast,’ says Gbagbo after much-awaited homecoming
Former Ivorian president Henri Konan Bédié has died at 89