The Constitutional Council, the top court in Cote d’Ivoire has officially validated the presidential candidacy bid of current President Alassane Ouattara who seeks a contentious third term — clearing only four of the 44 candidates for the October 31 presidential election.
Mamadou Koné, the President of Ivory Coast’s constitutional council, read out the list in a public address, “The final list of candidates for the election of the President of the Republic to be held on October 31st, 2020 is hereby adopted as follows: 1. Alassane Ouattara, 2. Affi N’Guessan Pascal, 3. Bédié Konan Aimé Henri, 4. Kouadio Konan Bertin.”
Ouattara, who has been in power since 2011, had previously committed to not running again, but he changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, from a heart attack in July. He initially postponed his decision to run for a third term to mourn and pay respects to the late prime minister but eventually filed his bid which has not been validated by the council.
His presence in the presidential race is controversial as many Ivorians refer to the constitution which limits presidents to only two terms in office. However, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a seemingly questionable – and some believe deliberate, 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.
Barred from the list of candidates viable to run for the presidency, is rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro, in self-imposed exile in France, the former ally of President Ouattara had his candidacy bid filed on his behalf by his supporters — which was initially rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission proclaiming that any person committed of a misdemeanour or a crime and stripped of their civil rights could not run for president.
Also kept out of the race by the council and with a bid initially rejected for the same reasons, is former president Laurent Gbagbo.
He appears to be extremely popular and beloved amongst his devoted supporters who formed a pro-Gbagbo coalition calling themselves “Together for Democracy and Sovereignty” and quite unapologetically submitted a candidacy bid in his stead. Unfortunately, the lack of a signature rendered the bid inadmissible by the council.
The announcement sparked violent protests in many cities as many fear a repeat of the post-electoral crisis from ten years ago that left more than 3,000 people dead as the upcoming October elections promise to be intense