World I.Coast's Ouattara lashes banned presidential bids as 'provocation'
Defiant Soro lashes I.Coast presidential vote
Former rebel chief Guillaume Soro on Thursday fired a verbal broadside at presidential elections in Ivory Coast next month after supporters of ex-head of state Laurent Gbagbo called for protests ahead of the vote. Soro declared he would remain a candidate for the October 31 ballot despite being barred by a court, even as he lashed the poll as a scheme to enshrine 78-year-old Alassane Ouattara as president. "My candidacy is firm, unchangeable and irrevocable," Soro, a former prime minister, told journalists in Paris.He said his country had been driven to "the brink" by Ouattara's decision to seek a third term in office.
Ivory Coast's head of state, Alassane Ouattara, has blasted attempts by two rivals to contest next month's presidential elections as "provocation" and says one of them belongs behind bars.
In an interview published on Thursday by the French magazine Paris Match, the 78-year-old incumbent fired a verbal broadside at former president Laurent Gbagbo and ex-rebel chief Guillaume Soro.
I.Coast court clears president's third-term bid as fresh violence erupts
Ivory Coast's top court on Monday cleared the path for President Alassane Ouattara to seek a contentious third term, as protests turned violent in several cities and fears grew of a repeat of the conflict that claimed 3,000 lives in the West African country a decade ago. The constitutional council also barred former president Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro from standing in next month's presidentialThe constitutional council also barred former president Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro from standing in next month's presidential election.
Both men are living outside the country but retain powerful support at home, in a country still scarred by a post-election conflict that claimed more than 3,000 lives nearly a decade ago.
The paramount Ivorian court, the Constitutional Council, rejected their bids to take part in the October 31 ballot on the grounds that they had been tried and sentenced in absentia.
"Soro, like Gbagbo, was excluded because he has a criminal record," Ouattara said.
"Each of them are perfectly aware that their candidacies are based on provocation... Guillaume Soro doesn't deserve to be on the campaign trail but in prison," he said.
"This young man, drunk on money and power, has simply lost his head."
Ouattara and Gbagbo battled for control of the country after Gbagbo lost presidential elections in 2010 and refused to hand over the reins.
Ivory Coast opposition calls for protests against Ouattara
Opposition parties urge civil disobedience campaign to stop President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term.The election is seen as one of the biggest tests of the stability of the West African nation since a disputed vote led to a brief civil war in 2010-11.
Ouattara was given crucial help at that time by Soro, 47, who under his ensuing presidency was appointed prime minister and then speaker of the parliament, before the pair fell out in 2019.
Gbagbo, 75, was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague after he was cleared in January 2019 of crimes against humanity.
He is living in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal against the ICC ruling.
His election candidacy was rejected on the grounds that he was handed a 20-year jail term by an Ivorian court last November over the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-election crisis.
Soro, who lives in France, was barred from contesting the election on the grounds of a 20-year sentence, also in absentia, for alleged embezzlement of public funds handed down in April.
Thirty-eight other candidates were ruled out by the Constitutional Council, leaving just four, including that of Ouattara.
His application ignited accusations that he is seeking to sidestep constitutional limits on presidential terms. Fifteen people died in clashes last month.
Ouattara, re-elected in 2015, had announced earlier this year that he would not seek a third term.
But he changed his mind after his preferred successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a sudden heart attack.
He argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution reset the term limit to zero -- a view backed by the Constitutional Council.
Côte d'Ivoire: we must "stop scaring Ivorians", criticizes Alassane Ouattara .
© REUTERS / Luc Gnago / File Photo The outgoing Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara during a meeting of the RHDP, August 22, 2020 in Abidjan (illustrative image). After visiting the Morounou region earlier this month, the Ivorian president spent four days in the Marahoué region. At the end of this new "state visit", in front of the notables and the inhabitants of Bouaflé, in the center of the country, Alassane Ouatarra addressed his political opponents.