[Franck Kie] On October 25th, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire will face at least three main opponents – former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, Pascal Affi N’guessan, head of FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), the main opposition party, and Mamadou Koulibaly, former Head of the National Assembly – as he stands for reelection. These upcoming presidential elections which will be the first since a resolution of Cote d’Ivoire’s bloody civil war ended four years ago have garnered the attention of everybody in the country and also the sub-region where Cote d’Ivoire represents at least one-third of the economy of the West African Economic Monetary Union.
Cote d’Ivoire’s is no stranger to election related violence. In 2002 a coup attempt followed by rebellion lead to a messy split between 2002 and 2010. During this period, the former president Laurent Gbagbo, founder of the FPI faced Alassane Ouattara the current president and head of RDR (Rally of Republicans), and former President Henri Konan Bedie, head of PDCI (Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire), the political party which both led Cote d’Ivoire to independence and ruled for nearly 40 years after.
The 2010 presidential elections were supposed to end nearly 10 years of political crisis which drove away most of the country’s investors and expatriates leading to sluggish GDP growth, decaying infrastructure and educational institutions. Unfortunately, the 2010 elections were inconclusive eading to yet another civil war which paralyzed the country for four months until Laurent Gbagbo was ousted with the help of French intervention in April of 2011.