ABIDJAN, 7 March 2021 – The vote count is underway in Cote d’Ivoire after voters cast ballots in the west African nation in Saturday’s legislative election.
An estimated seven million registered voters were expected to cast their ballots in over 22,000 polling stations across the west African nation.
A total of 1,266 wannabe parliamentarians were in the contest for one of the 255 seats in the country’s National Assembly.
President Alassane Ouattara’s party is expected to face the toughest competition from the parties of two former presidents – Henri Konan Bedie’s Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) and Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivoirian Popular Front (FPI).
Both opposition parties boycotted the country’s last presidential election, which were marred by deadly violence, widespread intimidation.
Ouattara, 79, was declared winner in a landslide.
Gbagbo’s FPI is contesting an election for the first time since 2011.
The former leader was acquitted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague in 2019 of charges of crimes against humanity related to the slaughter of about 3,000 people in post-electon violence following the 2010 presidential ballot.
“This is the time for us to return to the poitical scene, and for the opposition to retutn to power,” said Michel Gbagbo, the 50-year-old son of ex-Preisdent Gbagbo, speaking Thursday during one of the FPI’s final campaign rallies in the Yopougon neighborhood of the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.
With the likely exception of 2020, Cote d’Ivoire has posted robust gross domestic growth (GDP) rates of more than 8.0 percent each year for the past decade.