African Union Suspends Ivory Coast Over Disputed Poll

 

The African Union has suspended Ivory Coast, following a disputed presidential election in the West African nation.

AU official Ramtane Lamamra said Ivory Coast would remain suspended until opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara “takes over” from Laurent Gbagbo.

The UN Security Council earlier said Mr Ouattara had won last month’s poll.

However, Mr Gbagbo – backed by the army – is defying international pressure and continuing to cling to power.

Mr Lamamra made the announcement on Thursday, after an AU meeting at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mr Lamamra said the decision had been taken by the council of the 53-nation bloc, describing Mr Ouattara as “a democratically elected president”.

Earlier, West African regional bloc Ecowas also suspended Ivory Coast.

Last Thursday, Ivory Coast’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared that Mr Ouattara had won the 28 November run-off by 54.1% to 45.9%.

But after Mr Gbagbo and his supporters alleged the ballot had been fraudulent in some northern region, the Constitutional Council – run by Mr Gbagbo’s ally – overruled the Commission.

The council said Mr Gbagbo had secured just over 51% of the vote.

Both Mr Gbagbo and Mr Ouattara have since sworn themselves in and named their rival Cabinets, heightening tension in the country.

Mr Ouattara – who has the backing of the US and France among other nations – is operating from a luxury hotel in Abidjan, guarded by UN peacekeepers.

The election was intended to reunify the world’s largest cocoa producer after a civil war in 2002

rasaasa.com