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Ivory Coast court authorizes Ouattara’s third term candidacy amid protests | news

On Monday, the Ivory Coast Supreme Court cleared the way for President Alassane Ouattara to seek a controversial third term as protests turned violent in several cities and fears of a repeat of the conflict that claimed 3,000 lives in the country grew. of West Africa a decade ago.

The constitutional council also barred former president Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader-turned-prime minister Guillaume Soro from running for presidential elections next month.

He canceled only four of the 44 candidates for the October 31 presidential election.

The other candidates eliminated were former president Henri Konan Bedie of the historically dominant PDCI party, former prime minister of Gbagbo Pascal Affi N̵

7;Guessan, and Kouadio Konan Bertin, a dissident from Bedie’s party.

In the economic capital Abidjan, protesters set fire to a bus in the working-class district of Yopougon after clashes erupted between security forces and young people during the day.

The district is thought to be a fiefdom of ex-president Gbagbo, whose supporters had submitted an application to participate in the vote.

It was Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 elections that sparked the bloody conflict in the former French colony, once a beacon of stability and prosperity in the region.

In the west-central city of Bangolo, protesters set fire to a mining truck and other vehicles on Monday, according to a resident, who added that gendarmes scattered them with tear gas.

Witnesses said security forces pulled down barricades set up by protesters on several roads in the west of the country.

About 15 people have died as a result of the violence since Ouattara, 78, announced last month that he would be running for a third term.

The unrest has worried political observers that the vote could destabilize the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer and the largest economy in French-speaking West Africa.

Although the constitution limits presidents to two terms, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak has reset the clock.

The president had previously pledged not to run anymore, but changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor – Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly – from a heart attack in July.

The electoral commission said that anyone convicted of a crime will be disqualified and has already precluded the candidacy of Soro, sentenced in April to 20 years in prison for “hiding the embezzlement of public funds”.

Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia to 20 years for looting the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the 2010-11 crisis.

Former President Henri Konan Bedie is expected to be the opposition’s main flag bearer, and his PDCI party named the 86-year-old candidate on Saturday.

In a demonstration attended by tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Yamoussoukro, Bedie pledged, if elected, to work for “the unconditional return of all exiles, as well as the release of all political, civil and military prisoners from the post crisis. -electoral “.

Bedie is looking to return to the presidency after being removed in the country’s first coup in 1999.

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