ABIDJAN, 30 October 2020 – Votes were cast Saturday in the first round of presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire.

The main candidates are incumbent President Alassane Ouattara and main opposition candidates, Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bedie.

Other parties have called for civil disobedience and a boycott of the ballot to protest the decision by Mr. Ouattara to run for a third term.

The constitution sets a two-term presidential limit.

Mr. Ouattara went back on his pledge not to run again after his Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, nominated to run as his successor, died of a heart attack in July 2020.

On Saturday, news reports said opposition strongholds saw roads blocked and election material was burned.

After casting his vote in Abidjan on Saturday, Mr. Ouattara called for an end to the protests, hinting that some of the protests had resulted in the loss of lives.

Mr. Ouattara’s supporters have argued that the constitutional change, made in 2016, should not apply retroactively to his term prior to that change. His opponents argue that his candidacy is illegal.

More than 3,000 people were killed in five months of post-election violence in 2010 when former president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede to Mr. Ouattara.

The electoral commission blocked the candidacy of Mr. Gbagbo, arguing that his conviction by Ivorian courts disqualified him for the ballot.

Close to 40 other opposition candidates did not get the nod of the electoral commission to run.

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