Ivorian parliamentary election, 2011

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Recent history

A parliamentary election was held in Ivory Coast on 11 December 2011,[1][2][3] after the presidential election which was held in late 2010. This followed a peace agreement between the government and the New Forces (former rebels) that was signed in March 2007.[4] The result was a victory for the Rally of the Republicans, which won just under half the seats in the National Assembly.

Background[edit]

Following the agreement, the election was planned to be held in the first quarter of 2008.[4] On 6 August 2007, President Laurent Gbagbo said it would be possible, with goodwill and determination, to hold the election as early as December 2007.[5][6] This was greeted with widespread skepticism by observers and the opposition, who said that the preparations for elections would be incomplete at such an early stage.[6] It was announced on 12 September that the process of voter identification and registration would begin on 25 September,[7] and if it went well it was expected to be completed by the end of 2007.[8] On 13 September the President of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), Robert Mambe, said that the presidential election should be held, "at the latest", ten months after the end of the identification process, around October 2008,[7] and that the parliamentary election should be held 45 days after the presidential election.[8] On 18 September Gbagbo again expressed his desire to see the elections held quickly and said that he was opposed to the "remote dates" being suggested.[9]

The public hearings of the identification process are intended for about three million people born in Côte d'Ivoire who do not yet have identification papers. The hearings were launched on 25 September and were to be held first in Ouragahio and Ferkessédougou, respectively the home regions of Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.[10] The French company Sagem was designated as the technical operator of the electoral register in November 2007.[11]

On 27 November Gbagbo and Soro reached an agreement in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, that the election would be held by the end of June 2008; the electoral commission was to propose the specific date of the election.[12] Gbagbo reiterated on December 19 that the election would be held no later than the end of June 2008, and he said that he would visit all the regions held by the New Forces by March 2008 and would then make a report to the Constitutional Council, which would in turn approve the holding of the election.[13]

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner said on 27 January 2008 that the election might be delayed slightly past the end of June deadline due to technical requirements, particularly the need to update voter lists.[14]

While Ouattara and Bédié said that full implementation of the peace agreement, including total disarmament of the New Forces, was not necessary prior to the holding of the election, Pascal Affi N'Guessan, the President of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), Gbagbo's party, said that disarmament must be completed before the election.[15]

By March 2008, the common view among observers was that it would be impossible to hold the election as early as June. Although no leading political figures had yet expressed that view, in March Gbagbo referred to the importance of considering actual conditions and said that it would not mean "death" if the election was not held in June.[11]

On 14 April Government Spokesman Amadou Koné announced that the presidential election would be held on 30 November, thus delaying it by five months. According to Koné, the date was chosen by the CEI, which had presented a report to the government. Koné said that the parliamentary election would be held on a different date.[16] Gbagbo expressed enthusiasm on the occasion, describing it as "a great day for Côte d'Ivoire". According to Soro's spokesman Sindou Méité, a "broad consensus" had been reached by Soro and other leading political figures regarding the date. The PDCI and RDR welcomed the announcement of a date, although they remained cautious; the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire also welcomed it. On the same day, Gbagbo signed a decree outlining the terms of cooperation between the National Institute of Statistics and the French company Sagem, the latter of which is tasked with surveying the population so that voter lists can be updated and new voter cards can be created.[17]

Campaign[edit]

The Ivorian Popular Front boycotted the election,[18] accusing the electoral commission of bias in favour of Alassane Ouattara and accusing the army of intimidating FPI supporters during the campaign.[19] The party also complained of having been limited in informing the electorate, with the pro-FPI newspaper Notre Voie having been banned by the government and many of its journalists arrested or jailed.[20]

Gbagbo supporters defying the boycott participated in the election with the coalition National Congress for the Resistance of Democracy. Ouattara's supporters formed the coalition Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace.[21]

Results[edit]

Following court challenges to the election of 66 of the MPs, 11 results were declared invalid (five of those were won by the RDR, four by independents, one by the UDPCI). By-elections will be held for those seats, as well as for the vacant seat of Logoualé (where the election was postponed due to the death of a candidate).[22]

Party Votes % Seats
Rally of the Republicans 820,468 42.1 122
Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire – African Democratic Rally 556,223 28.6 76
Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire 60,095 3.1 6
Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace 32,041 1.7 4
Movement of the Forces of the Future 489,505 23.6 3
Union for Côte d'Ivoire 1
Independents 31
Invalidated 11
Vacant 1
Invalid/blank votes 112,461
Total 2,070,793 100 255
Registered voters/turnout 5,664,377 36.6
Source: Adam Carr, African Elections Database, IFES

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ivory Coast sets parliamentary poll date News 24, 28 September 2011
  2. ^ "Elections législatives prochaines : Le 11 décembre 2011 pourrait être retenu #CIV2010". News.abidjan.net. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Ivory Coast: Alassane Ouattara recalls army to barracks". BBC News. April 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Ivorian president vows to hold elections as scheduled", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), July 10, 2007.
  5. ^ "Ivory Coast to hold elections by end of 2007, president says", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), August 6, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "COTE D'IVOIRE: Observers, opposition wary of Gbagbo’s rush to elections", IRIN, August 7, 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Abidjan polls likely in 2008 - electoral body", AFP (IOL), September 14, 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Cote d'Ivoire likely to hold elections in October 2008", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 14, 2007.
  9. ^ "Ivorian leader calls for early elections", African Press Agency, September 19, 2007.
  10. ^ "Public hearings begin in Côte d'Ivoire", Panapress (afriquenligne.fr), September 25, 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Côte d'Ivoire: une présidentielle en juin de plus en plus improbable", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), March 23, 2008 (French).
  12. ^ "Ivorian leaders pledge polls in 2008", AFP (IOL), November 27, 2007.
  13. ^ "La présidentielle ivoirienne aura lieu en juin 2008", Panapress (afriquenligne.fr), December 20, 2007 (French).
  14. ^ "Kouchner : la présidentielle en Côte d'Ivoire "peut-être retardée" un peu", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), January 27, 2008 (French).
  15. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire: bilan "mitigé" de l'accord de Ouagadougou, selon le parti de Gbagbo", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), 25 February 2008.
  16. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire: le premier tour de la présidentielle fixé au 30 novembre", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 14, 2008 (French).
  17. ^ "La Côte d'Ivoire, sous pression, fixe enfin une date pour la présidentielle", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 15, 2008 (French).
  18. ^ "Boycott by Gbagbo party clouds Ivory Coast polls". France 24. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "Low turnout in Ivory Coast parliamentary elections". BBC News. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Reconciliation likely to be an unlikely outcome of Ivorian elections". Business Council for Africa. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Q&A: Ivory Coast parliamentary elections". BBC News. December 8, 2011. 
  22. ^ I Coast court annuls 11 election results News 24, 1 February 2012