ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara was formally nominated on Saturday by the ruling party to stand for a third term in October elections despite charges by the opposition that the run is unconstitutional.
Ouattara has been in power since March 2010 and earlier this year promised not to run again. However, the ruling party nominated him as its candidate after its previous nominee, Prime Minister Amadou Coulibaly, died in July from a heart attack. Ouattara said the death of the prime minister left a void and argued that because changes were made to the constitution in 2016, his previous terms do not count toward a two-term limit.
“Nothing prevents me from being a candidate,” said Ouattara Saturday, speaking to his supporters at the main stadium in Abidjan.
He said that opposition parties are “fearful” and assured his followers that he will emerge victorious in the October 31 election.
Opposition political parties have called on Ouattara to withdraw his candidacy.
Outtara’s move to stand for a third term has revived political tensions in the West African nation and violent protests since his announcement have killed at least six people and injured many others. There are worries that more unrest will come in the runup to the elections.
Thousands of people were killed in 2010 after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in the elections that year.
Election authorities this week also rejected appeals by Gbagbo and a former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to run in the October election.