Politics of Côte d'Ivoire

Politics of Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire

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Côte d'Ivoire

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The government of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Côte d'Ivoire is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The official capital since 1983 is Yamoussoukro; however, Abidjan remains the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies in Abidjan, although some (including the United Kingdom) have closed their missions because of the continuing violence and attacks on Europeans. The population continues to suffer because of an ongoing civil war. International human rights organizations have noted problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides and the re-emergence of child slavery among workers in cocoa production. Since the incident on 19 September 2002 (see History of Côte d'Ivoire), a civil war broke out, and the north part of the country has been seized by the rebels, the New Forces (FN). A new presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005. However, this new election could not be held on time due to delay in preparation and has been postponed to October 2006 after an agreement was reached amongst the rival parties. After a long delay, elections were finally held in 2010.


Civil war

In the early hours of 19 September 2002 troops, who were mainly originally from the north of the country, mutinied. They launched attacks in many cities, including Abidjan. By lunchtime they had control of the north of the country. Their principal claim relates to the definition of who is a citizen of Côte d'Ivoire (and so who can stand for election as president), voting rights and their representation in government in Abidjan. The events in Abidjan shows that it is not a tribal issue, but a crisis of transition from a dictatorship to a democracy, with the clashes inherent in the definition of citizenship. Forces involved in the conflict include:

  • Official government forces, the National Army (FANCI), also called loyalists, formed and equipped essentially since 2003
  • The Young Patriots: nationalist groups aligned with President Laurent Gbagbo
  • Mercenaries recruited by President Gbagbo:
    • allegedly, Belarusians
    • some former combatants of Liberia, including under-17 youths, forming the so-called "Lima militia" [1]
  • New Forces (Forces Nouvelles, FN), ex-northern rebels, who hold 60% of the country; their political expression is the Mouvement patriotique de Côte d'Ivoire, or MPCI
  • French forces: troops sent within the framework of Operation Unicorn and under UN mandate (UNOCI), 3000 men in February 2003 and 4600 in November 2004;
  • Soldiers of the CEDEAO, White helmets, also under the UN.

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Alassane Ouattara Rally of the Republicans 4 December 2010
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire 6 December 2010

Côte d'Ivoire's 1959 constitution provides for strong presidency within the framework of a separation of powers. The executive is personified in the president, elected for a five-year term. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces, may negotiate and ratify certain treaties, and may submit a bill to a national referendum or to the National Assembly. According to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly assumes the presidency in the event of a vacancy, and he completes the remainder of the deceased president's term. The cabinet is selected by and is responsible to the president. Changes are being proposed to some of these provisions, to extend term of office to 7 years, establish a senate, and make president of the senate interim successor to the president.

Laurent Gbagbo took power following a popular overthrow of the interim leader Gen. Robert Guéï who had claimed a dubious victory in presidential elections; Gen. Guéï himself had assumed power on 25 December 1999, following a military coup against the government of former President Henri Konan Bédié. Gbagbo was elected president in 2000 in an election boycotted by many oppositional forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 October 2000. The prime minister is usually appointed by the president. The present prime minister is appointed by the international community (South African President Jacob Zuma, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Niger President Mamadu Tandja) as transitional Prime Minister following a resolution of the UN Security Council and a resolution of the African Union.

Legislative branch

The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 225 members, elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies. It passes on legislation typically introduced by the president although it also can introduce legislation. Côte d'Ivoire is a one party dominant state with the Ivorian People's Front in power.

Political parties and elections

e • d Summary of the 31 October and 28 November 2010 Ivorian presidential election results
Candidates Parties 1st round 2nd round
Votes % Votes %
Laurent Gbagbo Ivorian People's Front 1,756,504 38.04 2,054,537 (CC) 2,107,055 (IEC) 51.45 (CC) 45.9 (IEC)
Alassane Ouattara Rally of the Republicans 1,481,091 32.07 1,938,672 (CC) 2,483,164 (IEC) 48.55 (CC) 54.1 (IEC)
Henri Konan Bédié Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire – African Democratic Rally 1,165,532 25.24  
Albert Mabri Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire 118,671 2.27
Konan Gnamien Union for Côte d'Ivoire 17,171 0.37
Francis Wodié Ivorian Workers' Party 13,406 0.29
Siméon Konan 12,357 0.27
Jacqueline Lohoues 12,273 0.27
Pascal Tagoua 11,674 0.25
Innocent Anaky Movement of the Forces of the Future 10,663 0.23
Adama Dolo 5,972 0.13
N'Douba Enoh Aka 5,311 0.12
Félix Akoto Yao 4,773 0.10
Henri Tohou Socialist Union of the People 2,423 0.05
Total (turnout 83.73%, 71.28% (CC)/81.12% (IEC)) 4,617,821 100.00 3,993,209 (CC) 4,590,219 (IEC) 100.00
Source: CEI, abidjan.net (CC), abidjan.net (IEC)
e • d Summary of the 10 December 2000 and 14 January 2001 National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Ivorian Popular Front (Front populaire ivoirien) . 96
Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (Parti démocratique de la Côte d'Ivoire) . 94
Rally of the Republicans (Rassemblement des républicains) boycott 5
Ivorian Workers' Party (Parti ivoirien des travailleurs) . 4
Union of Democrats of Côte d'Ivoire (Union des Démocrates de Côte d'Ivoire) . 1
Movement of Future Forces (Mouvement des Forces de l'Avenir) . 1
Non-partisans . 22
Vacant . 2
Total (turnout 33.1%) 1,547,798   225
Source: CNE. These elections were boycotted by the Rally of the Republicans (Rassemblement des républicains)

After five years of delays, new elections were finally held in 2010. The first round of elections were held peacefully, and widely hailed as free and fair. Runoffs are scheduled for 28 November 2010, after being delayed one week from the original date of 21 November. Laurent Gbagbo will defend his post as president against former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.[1]

Judicial branch

The judicial system culminates in the Supreme Court. The High Court of Justice is competent to try government officials for major offenses. The Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consists of four chambers: Judicial Chamber for criminal cases, Audit Chamber for financial cases, Constitutional Chamber for judicial review cases, and Administrative Chamber for civil cases; there is no legal limit to the number of members.

Administrative divisions

For administrative purposes, Côte d'Ivoire is divided into 58 departments, each headed by a prefect appointed by the central government. There are 196 communes, each headed by an elected mayor, plus the city of Abidjan with ten mayors.

The 58 departments (départements, singular - département) are listed in the article Départements of Côte d'Ivoire.

International organization participation



External links and references

  • CIA World Factbook 2003
  • [2]

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