December 4th 2010
Ivory Coast is in a major political crisis, after rival presidential candidates swore themselves in.
The incumbent Laurent Gbagbo took the oath to serve a new term, but within hours Alassane Ouattara also laid claim to the presidency. The US, UN and France say Sunday’s run-off poll was won by Mr Ouattara. He was declared the winner by the electoral body, but this was overturned by the Constitutional Council, which is led by an ally of Mr Gbagbo. The presidential run-off was intended to reunify the world’s largest cocoa producer after a civil war in 2002, but has now left the nation with two rival presidents.
Within hours, Mr Ouattara, a former rebel from the predominantly Muslim north of the country, was sworn in at an Abidjan hotel guarded by UN peacekeepers. Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro tendered his resignation, saying he backed Mr Ouattara. Mr Soro has warned that overturning the results threatens to derail attempts to stabilise and reunify the country after the war. On Thursday, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared that Mr Ouattara had won the 28 November run-off by 54.1% to 45.9%.