At least two people were killed in clashes during Cote d'Ivoire's presidential election on Saturday which was marked by a boycott and a call for civil disobedience by the opposition over President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term. Partial results are expected in the coming hours.
According to Germain Ndri, the mayor of Tiébissou which is located in the centre of the country, four people were killed and 27 were seriously injured in clashes at a polling station on Saturday morning. Ndri added that the situation was calm on Sunday morning.
However, his report conflicts with a security source which said one person was killed in central Tiebissou and another in Oume, northwest of Abidjan, during Saturday's vote.
On Saturday, demonstrations degenerated into clashes between rival ethnic communities in Tiebissou, Oume, Yopougon, a poor Abidjan district, and in the central western town of Gboguhe, according to witnesses.
Tensions erupted in August after Ouattara, in power for ten years, announced he would run for a third term, angering opposition leaders who dismissed it as an unconstitutional “electoral coup.”
Pre-election violence killed at least 30 people and the opposition boycott has stoked fears of a repeat of the 2010-2011 crisis when 3,000 people died after then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat by Ouattara.
Opposition leader Henri Konan Bedie had called for a boycott and a campaign of civil disobedience to halt or disrupt the 31 October poll.
“The electoral coup has been a failure. The Ivorian people succeeded in halting this election,” opposition candidate Pascal Affi N'Guessan said. “In the east and west of the country, 90 percent of the polling stations were closed,” he said.
However Adama Bictogo, a senior ruling party official said 31 October was not the deluge as the leaders of the opposition forecast.
“The popular will was expressed and all the opposition did for months was defend the idea of not holding elections,” he added.
The 78-year-old Ouattara had said after his second term he planned to make way for a new generation, but the sudden death of his chosen successor prompted him to seek a third term.
Ouattara says a constitutional court ruling approved his third term, allowing him to reset the country's two-term presidential limit.
Opposition leaders had accused the electoral commission and the constitutional court of favouring the government, making a fair vote impossible.
On Sunday, they called for a "civilian transition" from President Alassane Ouattara's government.
Opposition leader Guillaume Soro mentioned on his Twitter account that he no longer recognises Ouattara as President of the Republic, after a vote which they estimated with a turnout of less than 10 percent.
- with AFP