NPR logo Ivory Coast Election Results Thrown In Doubt With Dueling Declarations


Ivory Coast Election Results Thrown In Doubt With Dueling Declarations

A supporter of unofficial Ivory Coast presidential winner Alassane Ouattara poses with a campaign poster Thursday in Adjame. Seyllou/Getty hide caption

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Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of the West African nation's presidential contest by its electoral commission Thursday. The result was thrown into doubt later, however, when the head of Ivory Coast's constitutional council said the electoral commission's decision was not valid.

Election commission chief Youssouf Bakayoko said Ouattara had taken the election 54.1 to 45.9 percent over incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

Supporters of the current president had attempted to keep commission members from announcing Ouattara's apparent win. And it was a Gbagbo loyalist Paul Yao N'Dre of the constitutional council, who declared the election void after Bakayoko's announcement of victory for the opposition.

Later, two decrees read on state TV said that the country's borders had been closed and that foreign radio and TV broadcasts had been banned.

The election is the first in 10 years for the Ivory Coast and follows a 2002-3 civil war that split the country in two.

Reuters reports that instability in the country is a near certainty in the coming days as the constitutional council prepares its final ruling:

The Council now has seven days to give a final ruling — a period that will see intense political manoeuvring within Ivory Coast and concerted diplomatic pressure on the two camps to abide by election rules and keep supporters under control.

The AP reports that Gbagbo adviser Richard Assamoa called the release of results "an attempted coupd'etat." Ouattara took a different approach when talking to the media, saying:

"I remind my brother Laurent Gbagbo of our mutual engagement to respect the results proclaimed by the independent electoral commission. I'm proud of my country which has resolutely chosen democracy today and I hope this leads to a durable peace in Ivory Coast."