Ouattara was re-elected as president of Ivory Coast, official results showed, in a vote seen as key to cementing the West African country’s bid to overcome a history of electoral violence. Aljazeera reports:
The 73-year-old won a second term outright by garnering almost 84 percent of ballots in the first round of polls Sunday, when more than half of the voters turned out despite calls for a boycott by some opposition candidates. Ouattara, who had been widely tipped to win, has been credited with reviving the country’s war-scarred economy but also accused of creeping authoritarianism.
His main challenger was ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who garnered just 9.29 percent of ballots and ran on behalf of the Ivorian Popular Front – the party of former leader Laurent Gbagbo. Ouattara unseated Gbagbo in 2010, but the then president refused to concede defeat, sparking a wave of violence that left around 3,000 people dead. Gbagbo was eventually defeated by pro-Ouattara forces, backed by the UN and France, who dragged him from a bunker under the presidential residence where he had hidden for days.
He is now awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the five-month conflict. Commentators had questioned whether people would head to the polls after the violence, but Ivory Coast’s electoral commission said 54.63 percent of those eligible had voted. The process won praise from observers as being fair and peaceful and the president of the national electoral commission, the CEI, said that after the vote, “the crisis of 2010 is behind us”.