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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Ruling party wins Ivory Coast poll
Voter
Ivorians gave their support to their current leaders
The ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) in Ivory Coast and the former single party have each won 18 of the country's 58 districts in Sunday's local elections, according to final results released on Tuesday.

President Laurent Gbagbo's FPI and its coalition partners, the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), beat the Rally of Republicans (RDR) of the main opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, which won 10 districts, the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) said.

The BBC's Valerie Bony in Abidjan says that the results are a setback for Mr Ouattara's RDR, which won districts in its traditional northern stronghold only, thus reinforcing its image as an ethnic party.

The vote was watched closely as the tension in the country, which has prevailed for the last three years, rose in the week ahead of the poll, leading to the death of six people.

But Sunday's vote went smoothly, and there was no repeat of the troubles which caused the death of 300 people after the 2000 presidential election.

Low turn-out

More than five million people were eligible to cast their ballot, with some 71,000 candidates vying for 2,034 regional posts.

But many voters were unable to produce the identity papers required by the CEI, and the turn-out is believed to have been low, with an estimated 30%.

Alassane Ouattara
Ouattara returned from exile in November last year

The leader of the 1999 coup, Robert Guei, and his Union for Democracy and Peace in Ivory Coast (UDPCI) came fourth, with three districts, and a number of smaller lists shared the seven remaining districts.

As a result of the poll, the RDR confirms its position as the main opposition party.

Last week Alassane Ouattara announced his intention to run in the presidential election in 2005, when he learnt of a judicial decision to grant him Ivorian nationality papers.

Mr Ouattara, the former prime minister from the mainly Muslim north, was prevented from contesting the 2000 elections which brought Mr Gbagbo to power, on grounds of nationality.

See also:

06 Jul 02 | Media reports
27 Jun 02 | Africa
30 Jun 02 | Africa
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