President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara was on Monday, sworn in for a controversial third term in office as the West African country’s leader.
The ceremony which took place in the capital was attended by 13 African leaders and a former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
However, it was boycotted by leaders and members of the opposition due to grievances over the circumstances surrounding his emergence as the president for a controversial third term in office.
At the ceremony, Ouattara urged the opposition to “defuse tensions” ahead of general elections early next year.
“I ask all political parties to seize this new opportunity… to defuse tensions through dialogue,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
The 78-year-old president also said earlier that he asked his prime minister, Hamed Bakayoko, to “resume discussions” with the opposition, which continues to contest the legitimacy of the October 31 election that produced him as president.
VANTAGE NEWS reported that Ouattara polled more than 94 percent of the total votes cast by electorates to emerge the winner in the much disputed election.
The poll which was marred by clashes, had members of the opposition boycott it over Ouattara’s unconstitutional bid to contest for a third term in office.
Ouattara and his camp had argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution reset his term counter to zero.
The victory of Outtara led to members of opposition forming a transitional government – a move that led to the arrest of several opposition leaders who were taken to court for sedition by the government.
Official records show that pre- and post-election violence has claimed at least 85 lives since August, bringing back memories of the deadly post election violence that tore the country apart in 2010 after Laurant Gbagbo held on to power despite losing to Ouattara in the presidential election.
Ivory Coast which is the world’s largest producer of cocoa have a history of political unrest arising from disputed elections.
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