Cote d'Ivoire: Presidential Election - Four Candidates On the Starting Block

Incumbent Alassane Ouattara, former President Henri Konan Bedie, Gbagbo's former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Kouadio Konan Bertin, retained for the October 31 race.

The Constitutional Council has been given President Alassane Ouattara the green light to run for the October 2020 Presidential Election in Ivory Coast despite protest by the opposition leaders and civil society that his candidacy violates the constitution. The announcement made on Monday by the country's Constitutional Council has sparked violence in several cities and heighten fears of a repeat of the conflict that claimed 3,000 lives a decade ago. Although the constitution limits presidents to two terms, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock. The president had previously committed not to run again, but changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly from a heart attack in July.

Out of the 44 candidates who deposited their files, only four were cleared for the October 31, 2020 presidential election. They are former president Henri Konan Bedie from the historically dominant PDCI party, Gbagbo's former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan, and Kouadio Konan Bertin, a dissident from Bedie's party.

The Constitutional Council barred former President Laurent Gbagbo and former House Speaker, Guillaume Soro from standing in next month's presidential election. Before the validation of candidacy by the Constitutional Council, the electoral commission has said anyone convicted of a crime will be disqualified and had already barred Soro from running as he was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison for "concealment of embezzlement of public funds". While Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term for the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the 2010-11 crisis.

Reports by Aljazeera say, in the centre-west city of Bangolo, demonstrators set fire to a mining truck and other vehicles on Monday with gendarmes responding by dispersing them with tear gas after dismantling several road barricades set up by protesters.

With Gbagbo and Soro out of the race, former President Henri Konan Bedie is expected to be the opposition's main flagbearer. At 86, the PDCI candidate has promised to unify the country by bringing back all Ivoirians from exile.

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