By Daniel Edu
The party of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has expressed its rejection of the outcomes from last month’s local and senatorial elections, which were secured by the ruling party.
During a news conference held in Abidjan on Saturday, Justin Kone Katinan, spokesperson for the African People’s Party – Ivory Coast (PPA-CI), stated that they “reject the results of the local and senatorial elections that were primarily achieved through fraudulent maneuvers.” He went on to accuse the Independent Electoral Commission of the country of being complicit, if not the instigator, in numerous instances of fraud. Katinan also highlighted alleged irregularities, including issues with the equipment at polling stations.
The PPA-CI further pointed fingers at what they termed “biased security forces” who they claimed “stood idly by as electoral materials were destroyed” in certain offices, accusing them of being “heavy-handed” against the opposition. Election observers had noted some confrontations at polling stations.
Additionally, the party accused President Alassane Ouattara’s ruling Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace party (RHDP) of engaging in “vote buying.”
The RHDP secured a resounding victory in municipal and regional elections held on September 2 and 16, respectively.
These elections marked the first since Laurent Gbagbo’s return to Ivory Coast in June 2021 following his acquittal by the International Criminal Court of human rights charges related to the post-electoral violence in 2011. Gbagbo, however, was unable to cast his vote after being removed from the electoral register due to a conviction in Ivory Coast linked to the 2011 crisis.
The election results were viewed as an indicator of support for the major political factions in anticipation of the presidential elections scheduled for two years later in this West African nation, known for its regional economic prominence and role as a leading cocoa exporter.