BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Poll fears in Ivory Coast
Government supporters protesting decision to grant nationality to Ouattara
Some Ivorians still question Ouattara's nationality
Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara has urged the government to relax voting rules to prevent this weekend's district elections descending into chaos.


If I cannot vote, it is clear these are not fair elections

Alassane Ouattara
Mr Ouattara says he is concerned that up to 40% of voters could be disenfranchised because they have not yet been issued with new identity cards.

Sunday's elections for 58 new district councils are the last in a series of polls to establish civilian rule after a military coup in 1999, and are seen as a crucial test for the new administration in the world's top cocoa producer.

Mr Ouattara's party boycotted presidential and parliamentary polls in 2000 after he was blocked from standing on the grounds he came from neighbouring Burkina Faso and not Ivory Coast.

But a judge gave him his nationality certificate last weekend, sending thousands of loyalists into Ivory Coast's biggest city Abidjan, cheering and chanting his name.

However supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo were angered by the decisions and they have been holding counter-demonstrations.

Mounting tension

"I think we have to be reasonable... that identification papers used in previous elections can be used now to avoid disorder on 7 July," Mr Ouattara is quoted by Reuters news agency as having told journalists.

A burnt church in the central cocoa town of Daloa
Muslims and Christians have clashed in central Ivory Coast

In local elections in March 2001 his Rally of the Republicans (RDR) won more town halls than any other party.

Since then Mr Ouattara has been branding the Mr Gbagbo's administration "a minority government".

Tension has mounted ahead of the district election.

Six people died in the central cocoa-producing town of Daloa after supporters of Mr Ouattara, a northern Muslim, clashed with the mainly Christian Bete, - President Laurent Gbagbo's ethnic group.

The BBC's Katharine Davenport in Abidjan says anger against the judges' decision to grant Mr Ouattara his nationality papers is still running high in the capital.

Government supporters have accused the judges of corruption.

Alassane Ouattara
Ouattara's fate still hangs in the balance after missing presidential and parliamentary polls

Some 300 people were killed in violence during elections in 2000, and some diplomats worry there could be bloodshed if those allowed to vote in previous elections are barred this time.

Correspondents say even with his nationality papers, Mr Ouattara is unsure whether he can stand for president or parliament - or indeed vote on Sunday.

"If I'm in Abidjan, I will go with all these documents, my passport, my (expired) yellow identity card," he told reporters at his plush mansion in the port city.

"And if I cannot vote, it is clear these are not fair elections."

Troubled times for West Africa's most prosperous nation

Analysis

Key players
See also:

10 Dec 00 | Africa
28 Oct 00 | Africa
05 Jul 00 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes