On Friday, October 16, Alassane Ouattara launched his campaign in Bouaké, the major city in central Côte d’Ivoire, for the October 31 presidential election. The president, who was running for a third term, met at length with the traditional leaders of the region to whom he exposed his program and defended his record, suggesting that a political dialogue could be held after the election. Then he held a meeting.
as reported from Abidjan, Pierre Pinto
This Friday afternoon, the esplanade in the Dar es Salaam district of Bouaké is invaded by a large overheated and excited crowd, often made up of young or even very young Bouakois, who have been waiting for hours to listen to Alassane Ouattara. While the police do their best to reduce the movements from the crowd less and less controlled, the ADO takes the microphone.
“Who are you going to vote for? !! – ADO, the audience answers. – You have to vote because ADO has a record!” Do you have electricity? – Yes! – Do you have water? – Yes! – Do you have roads? – Yes! – If they’re boys, they’re just going to the polls, we’ll fight! ”
A harangue, more than a speech, in less than five minutes. The president then disappears and then begins a tour of the city greeting the residents of the sunroof of his car.
Previously, he met the traditional leaders of the region. The presidential candidate’s opportunity to defend his record and comment on the opposition’s boycott strategy. “The election will take place on October 31. For everyone to stop misleading themselves: there will be no postponement of the election, there will be no transition. That they enter into dialogue [lire ci-dessous, NDLR]. This dialogue will improve things after the election, ”he said.
Despite Alassane Ouattara’s regular speeches, however, the government this Saturday called on the opposition to a “working session” on “the framework for organizing the vote”. A first bend in weeks to the irreconcilability shown by the regime. But several major opposition parties indicated this Friday night that they would not go.
■ A working session rejected by the opposition
as reported from Abidjan, François Hume-Ferkatadji
In the wake of the opposition’s call for an “active boycott” consisting of “blocking the election coup”, several localities in the country experienced widespread disturbances on Friday: demonstrations, inter-municipal clashes, roadblocks or thefts. of voting cards. No injuries were reported. It is in this context that the Minister of Territorial Administration invited parties and political groups to a meeting with the Prime Minister this Saturday at. 11 on the subject of “the organizational framework for presidential elections”. The opposition, demanding the postponement of the election before any political dialogue, rejected.
The same scenes were observed at several localities in the center, west and southeast of the country. At dawn, groups of a few dozen protesters blocked roads with tree trunks, wooden planks or decks, thus showing their rejection of the electoral process. From police and security sources, axes were thus blocked for a few hours in the vicinity of Abengourou (east), Ouaraghio (central west), Bangolo (west), Dabou, Tiassalé (south), Divo and Adzopé.
Clashes took place in Bongouanou and in villages near Daoukro, where the prefect convened an emergency meeting to organize the deployment of security forces in the region. In Abidjan, hundreds of ballot papers were stolen from polling stations in the Yopougon-Micao, Anono and Marcory districts.
The government is trying to respond by inviting the opposition parties to a “working session” this morning on “the organizational framework of the vote”. But neither PDCI nor FPI-recognized by the authorities or the EDS platform – supported by Laurent Gbagbo – want to participate in this call.
“The government must register the postponement of the election before the opening of political discussions,” responded Jean-Gervais Tcheidé, spokesman for the EDS. FPI-Affi, for its part, says it is ready to respond to the government’s invitation, but apologizes today due to timing issues.