Ivory Coast wants violence to end before election


Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s government reached out to his main opponents and religious leaders to intervene and ease tensions following his decision to bid for a third term in next month’s election.

Ouattara made his appeal to religious leaders during a tour of the east of the country. A source in Ouattara’s office told Reuters informal discussions were held with political leaders.

The world’s top cocoa-producing nation has seen a spate of violent protests, with at least 10 killed and over a 100 wounded in clashes between protesters and police since Ouattara announced his bid in August.

The election is seen as the greatest test yet for stability since a brief civil war killed about 3 000 people following a disputed election in 2010 won by Ouattara.

Ouattara plans to run in the October 31 election after the death of his handpicked successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly in July.

Opponents say the constitution forbids him because he has already had two terms. The Ivory Coast Constitutional Council is set to rule on his eligibility and those of other candidates next week.

Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko is expected to meet youth leaders of main opposition parties next week to restart discussions and end street violence before the election, a government statement said.