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The Ivory Coast, with French-speaking Africa's most powerful economy, held its first open elections Sunday since independence in 1960. For the first time, the 3.4 million electors had a choice of candidates for the National Assembly. Some 650 candidates, all from the country's Democratic Party, ran for 147 seats. In the past, voters simply said "yes" or "no" to a single list. President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, reelected unopposed for another five-year term last month, launched the democratization process last June, saying the country's political growth was lagging behind its economic development.

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