Ivory Coast. Following the coup in December 1999, the
military junta first seemed friendly to former Prime
Minister Alassane Ouattara, who had been barred from
participating in the presidential election by the deposed
government. His citizenship had been rejected on the grounds
that his one parent came from Burkina Faso.
In the new civilian military government, Ouattara's
Republican Collection (RDR) party received several items.
But as early as May, all RDR members were dismissed, and a
new constitution adopted in a July referendum stated that
both parents of a presidential candidate must have been born
in Ivory Coast.
COUNTRYAAH, the military regime was shaken by a soldier's mutiny in
July and a bloody coup attempt in September. At least 13
people were killed in clashes in the southwest between a
native population group and immigrants from Burkina Faso.
Several thousands of Burkinis fled. Ethnic tensions both
within the regime and in the country as a whole increased.
Presidential elections were held in October. Since Junta
Chief General Robert Guéi announced that he would stand for
himself, while the Supreme Court ruled out both Ouattara and
the former ruling party PDCI's candidate from participation,
both the US and the EU suspended their financial support for
the electoral process. The United Nations, the United States
and the OAU refused to send observers.
Both RDR and PDCI called for boycotts, and turnout was
low. Socialist Party FPI candidate Laurent Gbagbo took a
clear lead in the voting and was believed to go against
victory when Guéi canceled the bill, dissolved the electoral
commission and proclaimed himself victorious. When violent
protests erupted, the soldiers soon stood on the side of the
protesters, and the military junta began to fall apart. Guéi
flew in a helicopter, after which new voting results gave
Gbagbo the victory. Instead, clashes between Gbagbo's
supporters and sympathizers broke out in Ouattara. At least
170 people were killed, most Muslims, before the riots
Laurent Gbagbo took both PDCI and a smaller party into
his government, but RDR declined and the outside world took
a chilly stance on Gbagbo, as the election was not
considered to reflect the will of the people. Since Ouattara
was rejected as a candidate even in the December
parliamentary elections, new unrest broke out with at least
20 casualties in Abidjan. RDR again called for election
boycotts, and international organizations took their hand
from the election. FPR won but did not get its own majority
and was forced to continue cooperation with PDCI. The
turnout was now very low, and in 29 constituencies in RDR's
bracket in the north, no election was held at all. The
formerly calm Ivory Coast was now deeply divided, and in the
north there was talk of an outbreak.