Ivory Coast’s main opposition leaders and thousands of their supporters gathered came out on the streets in Abidjan to reject President Alassane Ouattara’s third mandate, reported France 24.
The opposition supporters were seen carrying banners that read “Civil disobedience. No to the denial of justice,” denouncing a violation of the country’s Constitution.
Last month, members of the opposition called for civil disobedience to protest President Ouattara’s quest for a third term, which they consider unconstitutional.
The unrest ahead of the October election raises the chances of trouble in Ivory Coast, a country that already witnessed a post-election violence in 2010-2011 that left more than 3,000 people dead.
Ouattara has been in power for nearly a decade. The incumbent president announced in August that he will seek another term following the sudden death of his handpicked successor. The 78-year-old president said a 2016 constitutional change means his two-term limit has been reset. He insists that his first two terms do not count toward term limits because Ivory Coast has approved a new constitution.
The Ivory Coast’s constitutional council has already cleared Ouattara and three other candidates to contest in the upcoming election, but the opposition argues that Ouattara is violating the constitution by seeking another term and has called for a civil disobedience campaign.
Opposition activists want Ouattara disqualified from the election. They want that council dissolved, along with the Independent Electoral Commission.
The opposition has called for the election to be postponed, but haven’t yet officially confirmed if they will boycott the poll. The ruling party, on the other hand, has said the election will take place regardless of whether they participate.
Amid the rising tensions, envoys from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc, the African Union, and the United Nations met officials, the opposition, and members of the civil society. The joint mission has called out for a peaceful and transparent election in Ivory Coast.