Tensions High As Ivory Coast Votes In Presidential Polls

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The country Ivory Coast is voting in tense election after an opposition boycott and clashes over President Alassane Ouattara’s contested attempt to retain a third term in office.

At least 30 people according to report have been killed in pre-election violence, evoking memories of a 2010-11 crisis that killed about 3,000 people.

Polling stations were opened exactly 8am (08:00 GMT) and will close at 6pm (18:00 GMT).

In Saturday’s vote, Ouattara’s main challengers will be former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan.

Opposition leaders made calls for an election boycott and civil disobedience, though they have not formally withdrawn their candidacies.

The fourth challenger is an independent candidate Kouadio Konan Bertin.

Ouattara, 78 old was supposed to step aside after his second term to make way for a younger generation, but the sudden death of his chosen successor forcefully triggered  a change in plan.

The Ivorian leader, a former IMF official who has been in power since 2010, says a Constitutional Court ruling approved his third term, allowing him to bypass two-term presidential limits after a 2016 legal reform.

But Bedie and opposition leaders say a third mandate is illegitimate.

They accuse the electoral commission and the Constitutional Court of favouring the government, making a fair and transparent vote impossible.

The UN has called for calm, but the opposition called for a campaign of civil disobedience to stop the vote, stoking fears of more violence in opposition strongholds.

More than 35,000 police and security personnel have been mobilized to secure the election.

Source; Aljazeera

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