The political stalemate persisted Wednesday in Côte d’Ivoire, where the record of post-election violence has increased, despite calls for dialogue by the international community.
The country is awaiting validation by the Constitutional Council of the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara for a third term – deemed unconstitutional by the opposition – with an overwhelming score (94.2%).
The former leader of the rebellion and former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro called Wednesday evening from abroad for the army to « act » against the regime to support the « National Transitional Council » proclaimed by the opposition, which does not recognize the re-election of Mr. Ouattara, and whose main leaders are blocked at home by the security forces.
In exile in France, Mr. Soro, whose influence among the 8,000 former rebels who have joined the army is difficult to measure, called on « soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers » to « act to end the spectre of civil war, » in a statement on social networks.
Former ally of President Ouattara who became his opponent, Soro, whose presidential candidacy had been invalidated, also called on « the constituted bodies to disobey the illegal orders » of the regime and to « join the National Transition Council » of which he calls himself a « member », and « the population to stand up and continue the civil disobedience » that the Ivorian opposition had incited before the election.
Violence has resulted in two more deaths, two young people in the entourage of the Minister of Equipment Amedé Koffi Kouakou, killed Tuesday during skirmishes in Toumodi (center), a city already shaken since the vote Saturday by deadly unrest, said Mamadou Touré, spokesman for the ruling party.
Mr. Touré, also Minister of Youth Promotion, also reported that « the convoy of Sidi Tiemoko Touré », Minister of Communication and government spokesman, had « come under fire between Beoumi and Bouaké (center) without injury.
- Provocations and Acts of Intimidation » –
The exact toll of electoral violence that often degenerated into inter-ethnic clashes is difficult to establish, but with these new deaths the death toll stands at least 13 since the presidential election on Saturday, and a total of at least 40 since August, including clashes before the vote, according to an AFP count.
Diplomatically, France called Wednesday the protagonists to « end the provocations and acts of intimidation, » and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged « the President and the main opposition leaders to engage in dialogue » to « find a way out of the crisis.
Ten years after the post-election crisis of 2010-2011, which killed 3,000 people after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to recognize Ouattara’s victory, the UN also called on « all political actors to respect the constitutional order of the country and to abide by the principles of the rule of law.
According to diplomatic sources, Western and African chancelleries have advised the opposition not to « insist » on the path of the transitional government and President Ouattara to play « appeasement rather than repression.
The former head of state Laurent Gbagbo, who had come out of his silence last week from Brussels, asked Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, to whom he phoned, to favor « dialogue rather than repression.
« Does the opposition want to negotiate? We do not feel that this is the case, » said a source close to the ruling party, saying that the leader of the opposition and former head of state Henri Konan Bédié had refused to meet Alassane Ouattara. She assured, however, that the government is « always ready to discuss », but within the « constitutional order ».
- Sequestration » –
« Let us remain mobilized for the love of a reconciled Côte d’Ivoire, for the return of peace and against this autocratic regime that has flouted the Constitution, » tweeted Wednesday Mr. Bédié, who had maintained his candidacy against Mr. Ouattara while calling for a boycott of the election.
A senior official of Mr. Bédié’s party, Djedri N’Goran, accused the regime of having « taken hostage » « five members of President Bédié’s family » who « have been arrested ».
Another opposition leader, Assoa Adou, secretary general of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), close to Laurent Gbagbo, who was blocked at his home, told AFP that police had « climbed the walls » of his home around 8:30 pm asking him to follow them. « They had no warrant and I refused. They are still in my yard, » he said.
Opposition lawyers have denounced « kidnappings ».
On the government side, opposition leaders are believed to be « preventively kept at home » to « prevent » further violence and the « seriousness » of the acts is stressed, particularly this attempt to create a « parallel state ».
« If the opponents had been in a truss, we would be talking about a coup attempt, » said a senior official of the ruling party.