Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Monday invited the former president and opposition leader, Henri Konan Bedie, for a meeting to resolve the ongoing political crisis over his contested election to a third term, reported Africa News.
Ouattara won more than 94 percent votes in the October 31 election, but the opposition leaders boycotted the ballot and vowed to set up a rival government in protest over an illegal mandate. Bedie had sided with the opposition in boycotting the election.
The opposition groups claim Ouattara violated the constitution, which limits presidents to two terms. But, the president had maintained that the approval of a new constitution in 2016 allowed him to restart his mandate.
“I would like to invite president Henri Konan Bédié, president of the PDCI RDA (Democratic Party of Ivory Coast), to join me in a meeting in the next few days to have a frank and sincere dialogue to restore confidence”, Ouattara said in an address on state TV.
The president’s call for dialogue came just hours after court ratified his controversial election win.
Earlier this year, Ouattara said he would not seek another mandate and handover the reins to younger generation. However, he revised his position five months later following the sudden death of his handpicked successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
Nearly 50 people have been killed in clashes since Ouattara first announced he would run for the third term in August, raising fears that Ivory Coast could see the same kind of post-election violence that is suffered in 2010 and 2011 that killed some 3,000 people.
The United Nations also called for a peaceful solution to the crisis.
“It is in nobody’s interests to fuel the threat of increasing political instability – we have seen the violence such provocations led to in 2011,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said late Monday.