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IVORY COAST

Ivory Coast's Ouattara wins second term in landslide election

AFP

Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara earned a blowout poll victory and a second five-year term in a weekend vote intended to draw a line under years of turmoil, the elections commission announced on Wednesday.

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Ouattara won a total of 2,118,229 votes, or 83.66 percent of ballots cast, President of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) Youssouf Bakayoko announced at a press conference. Sunday’s vote had a turnout of 54.63 percent, he said.

A former International Monetary Fund official, 73-year-old Ouattara has helped the West African nation re-emerge as a rising economic star following a 2011 civil war.

Sunday’s vote was judged to be peaceful and transparent by observers, likely reassuring investors, who have flooded into the world’s top cocoa grower, drawn by growth around 9 percent over the past three years.

“I would like to congratulate all Ivorians for their maturity and exemplary behaviour,” Ouattara said on Tuesday. “Ivory Coast is resolutely committed to the path of stability and the reinforcement of democracy.”

Gbagbo successor distant second

Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads ex-President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), appeared headed for a distant second-place finish.

Gbagbo’s refusal to accept Ouattara’s 2010 poll victory sparked the conflict that killed 3,000 people. He is now awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity.

Hardliners disavowed N’Guessan’s candidacy and called for their supporters to boycott the polls. Turnout was visibly lower in regions considered to be Gbagbo’s traditional strongholds.

Three opposition candidates dropped out of the race in the days before the election, alleging it had been rigged and called upon voters to stay home. The CEI dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated.

Simeon Konan Kouadio, one of the six candidates who remained in the race to unseat Ouattara, said his campaign team had been informed of massive fraud but offered no evidence.

Two candidates, Bertin Konan Kouadio and Jacqueline-Claire Kouangoua, conceded defeat on Monday even before official results began to emerge.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

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