TIMELINE-Ivory Coast bids to put tumultuous past behind it


Helped by billions of dollars of donor cash, Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara wants to shore up peace with a dash for economic growth, like the “Ivorian miracle” which turned the country into a regional powerhouse after independence in the 1960s.

Here is a timeline on Ivory Coast since independence:

August 1960 – France grants independence to Ivory Coast and Felix Houphouet-Boigny is elected president in November. He will go on to rule for three decades, overseeing a so-called “Ivorian miracle” of economic growth and prosperity as the nation becomes the world’s top cocoa grower and a regional economic hub, Reuters reports.

October 1990 – First contested elections in which Houphouet- Boigny defeats Laurent Gbagbo to win a seventh term.
1993-1999 – Henri Konan Bedie becomes president following the death of Houphouet-Boigny. An emotive debate on “ivoirite” – Ivorian identity – fuels tensions between those considering themselves natives in the south and east, and the many foreign workers from neighbouring countries long settled in the country.

December 1999 – Soldiers, who began a pay mutiny, topple Bedie and put former armed forces chief General Robert Guei in power at the head of a military junta.
2000 – Guei declares himself winner of an election widely seen as rigged – a popular uprising soon forces him to flee and Laurent Gbagbo, seen as the real winner, is named president. Alassane Ouattara, who was blocked from running as president after opponents said he was a national of Burkina Faso, becomes the de facto opposition leader.

September 2002 – Dissident soldiers attack main city of Abidjan to try to overthrow Gbagbo. Attempt fails but rebels of the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) seize north of country.
2002-07 – Most of the fighting ends in 2003, although there are a number of clashes in 2004. Numerous peace deals go by the wayside and election deadlines are repeatedly missed.

March 2007 – Gbagbo signs a new peace deal and power-sharing arrangement with rebel leader Guillaume Soro in an accord brokered by Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Campaore. A month later Gbagbo names a new government led by Soro.

October 2010 – First round of long-delayed presidential election. Gbagbo comes first with 38 percent, not enough to win outright. Ouattara is second with 32 percent. Run-off ballot between Gbagbo and Ouattara takes place on Nov. 28.

December 2, 2010 – The election commission says Ouattara wins with 54.1 percent of the vote compared with 45.9 percent for Gbagbo. The next day the Constitutional Council, run by a Gbagbo ally, rejects the results as rigged. Gbagbo is declared the winner but the United Nations refuses to recognise his win and endorses Ouattara as victor.

December 2010 – Pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces wage gun battles in the streets of Abidjan. The country veers ever closer to a civil war that will ultimately claim over 3,000 lives.

April 10, 2011 – After months of fighting, French forces backing northern pro-Ouattara troops destroy his heavy weapons. Gbagbo is arrested on April 11 after the pro-Ouattara forces and French troops close in on his compound.

May 21 – Ouattara is inaugurated as president. The next day Ouattara confirms he will keep former rebel leader Guillaume Soro as his prime minister and defence minister.

November 29 – Gbagbo leaves Ivory Coast to face an arrest warrant at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Gbagbo appears before ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity on Dec. 5.

December 11 – Ouattara’s ruling coalition wins four fifths of seats in parliamentary elections.

Feb. 8, 2012 – Ivory Coast launches a reform of its cocoa sector aimed at guaranteeing minimum prices for the hundreds of thousands of farmers whose livelihoods depend on it.

April 12 – The IMF says that Ivory Coast is on track to achieve completion of an IMF-backed debt relief accord by the end of June.