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World I.Coast court clears president's third-term bid as fresh violence erupts

01:01  15 september  2020
01:01  15 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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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.

a person wearing a hat: Ivory Coast former president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, has been officially nominated as his party's candidate for next month's election © SIA KAMBOU Ivory Coast former president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, has been officially nominated as his party's candidate for next month's election

The 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.

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In the economic capital Abidjan, protesters torched a bus in the working-class district of Yopougon, an AFP photographer said, after scuffles broke out earlier in the day between security forces and youths.

The district is thought to be a fiefdom of exiled former president Gbagbo, whose supporters had filed an application for him to run in the vote.

It was Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 election that sparked the bloody conflict in the former French colony, formerly a beacon of stability and prosperity in the region.

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Witnesses said security forces took down barricades set up by protesters on several roads in the west of the former French colony.

Around 15 people have died in violence since Ouattara, 78, announced last month that he would run for a third term.

Although the constitution limits presidents to two terms, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.

The president had previously committed to not running again, but he changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, from a heart attack in July.

The electoral commission has said that anyone convicted of a crime will be disqualified from running for the top office and barred Soro from running as he was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison for "concealment of embezzlement of public funds".

a group of people wearing costumes: The Ivory Coast's constitutional court's president Kone Mamadou (C) cleared President Ouattara's bid for a third term © SIA KAMBOU The Ivory Coast's constitutional court's president Kone Mamadou (C) cleared President Ouattara's bid for a third term

Gbagbo has been sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term over the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the 2010-11 crisis.

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Former president Henri Konan Bedie, who has been cleared to stand in next month's election, is expected to be the opposition's mean flagbearer, after his PDCI party nominated the 86-year-old as its candidate on Saturday.

At a rally attended by tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Yamoussoukro, Bedie pledged if elected to work for "the unconditional return of all exiles, as well as the release of all political, civilian and military prisoners from the post-election crisis".

Alassane Ouattara wearing a suit and tie: Ouattara had initially said he would not seek a third term © Ludovic MARIN Ouattara had initially said he would not seek a third term

Bedie is seeking to return to the presidency after he was ousted in the country's first coup in 1999.

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