Ivory Coast elections: media and diplomatic reaction

Guest blogger Alex Thurston rounds up a selection of links that showcase the media and diplomatic reactions to the Nov. 28 Ivory Coast elections. Some of the aftermath has been violent.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Boys shout "We don't want Gbagbo" next to the remains of a morning protest fire in the Koumassi neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Dec. 5. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki tried to mediate the nation's growing political crisis Sunday as hundreds protested in the country's north, a day after both candidates in the disputed election said they were now president.

On many Saturdays I post interesting links about various countries in Africa. Today, given the turmoil in Cote d’Ivoire, I thought it appropriate to do a roundup specifically for that country. For those who have not been following the story, a declaration of victory for opposition candidate Alassane Outtara quickly gave way to a declaration of victory for incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. Turmoil has resulted.

News reports:

  • Christian Science Monitor: “Two Candidates Claim Victory in Ivory Coast Election. Who’s Right?”
  • Financial Times: “The confused outcome of the run-off represents a major setback to nearly eight years of efforts by the United Nations, regional and western mediators to reunite the country and restore legitimacy to the state. It also presents a conundrum to interested countries abroad, including former colonial power France and the US. During campaigning, Mr Gbagbo and his supporters portrayed his rival, a former prime minister and senior official at the International Monetary Fund, as a stooge of foreign powers.”
  • Bloomberg: “The dispute over the results is threatening to worsen violence that left several dead during the campaign, including at least six people who were killed late on Dec. 1 at an opposition party office by unidentified gunmen.”
  • VOA: “The country is under an overnight curfew. All its borders are closed. Foreign news broadcasts are suspended indefinitely.”
  • BBC Q&A

International Reactions:

  • UN: “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council plan on Friday to endorse Ivory Coast’s provisional election results that declared opposition presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara as victor.”
  • AU: “The African Union said on Friday it was deeply concerned by developments in Ivory Coast and stressed that it was imperative that the will of the people and the outcome of elections be respected.”
  • White House: “The United States calls on all parties to respect the results of Côte d’Ivoire’s November 28 election as announced today by the Independent Electoral Commission. Those provisional results have declared Alassane Ouattara the winner over incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo. Credible, accredited electoral observers have characterized the balloting as free and fair, and no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process.”
  • French Foreign Ministry: “Ivory Coast’s former colonial power France has not taken sides, but [ministry spokesman Bernard] Valero, echoing an earlier statement from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office, praised the ‘remarkable work and rigour’ of the electoral commission.”


  • Mark John (Reuters Africa Blog): “In the bad old days of post-colonial Africa, dictators would hail their landslide re-elections as a demonstration of the will of an adoring people while international observers would dismiss the polls as electoral farce. In the brave new Africa, it is often the other way round.”
  • Mohamed Vall (Al Jazeera): “It’s a dangerous development that barely falls short of a military coup. But not the traditional type of coup against a sitting president, it’s rather a coup on the future one.”
  • Rosebell Kagumire: “As the t[u]g of war continues…over the election results, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a statment that he’s watching the events closely.”
  • Petra Cahill (ABC): “Dreams of a West African paradise of peace and stability seem a long way off looking at the photos of angry youths taking the streets Friday.”
  • Ink Spots: “Stay tuned, this could get really bad.”

Feel free to post relevant links in the comments.

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