President Laurent Gbagbo’s party has asked the top legal body in Ivory Coast and the election commission to cancel still unpublished results from a poll it says rebels rigged for rival Alassane Ouattara.
Allies of Ouattara, a northerner who denies links with the rebellion that split the country in two, say Gbagbo is stalling the publication of results because he knows he has lost and that taking complaints to the Constitutional Council after blocking the electoral commission from releasing them would be illegal.
The Constitutional Council must sign off on the election results but Gbagbo’s rivals complain it is biased as it is headed by a Paul Yao N’Dre, a staunch Gbagbo ally. Despite pressure from foreign governments, the electoral commission missed a Wednesday deadline to publish results of the disputed poll. The entire election could be cancelled if Gbagbo’s complaints are upheld by the council, reports Reuters.
The run-off vote in the world’s top cocoa grower was meant to cap the process of reuniting the country, but has stoked deep divisions. The United Nations warned politicians late on Wednesday they could be held responsible for any violence. Pascal Affi N’Guessan, Gbagbo’s campaign chief, has said that rebel-led intimidation made voting impossible for Gbagbo supporters in the north, which is still run by rebels.
“It is because of all these irregularities that we have lodged a request to cancel votes … firstly with the Independent Election Commission and then with the Constitutional Council,” N’guessan said on state television late on Wednesday.
Election experts say that the body can only either approve or cancel the entire vote — Gbagbo’s party previously called for an annulment of results only in four pro-Ouattara regions. has ticked slightly higher, reaching 10.8 percent compared to its pre-vote levels of just below 10 percent.
The dispute has reopened the north-south divisions that caused the war and violence is feared if it is not resolved.