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Ivory Coast Elections

The Candidates 

The candidates of the 2010 Presidential election of the Ivory Coast are Laurent Gbagbo, and Alassane Ouattara. I think  people should know the background of these two candidates. 

Laurent Gbagbo was born on May 31st  1945 in Gagnoa, a major city in west-central Ivory Coast. His parents Zepe Paul Koudou and Gado Marguerite Koudou Paul, belonged to the Bété tribe. He earned his high school diploma from the Traditional College of Abidjan. He then attended the University of Abidjan, BA in 1969, and then the University of Paris, Sorbonne MA 1970 and the University of Paris VII, PhD, 1979. He was a professor of History and Geography from 1970 and 1973.  The country was being led by President Houphouët- Boigny, who, with his political and moderate leadership, helped Ivory Coast’s economy prosper. However in the 20th century, the economy went downwards.  Many people began voicing their concerns on the issue, and Gbagbo was one of the voices.  Gbagbo also criticized a lot of the country's one party political system because he felt it was concentrated into the hands of Houphouët. So in 1982, he created the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), and made flyers calling for a multi-party system. This movement made Houphouët   furious, and so Gbagbo was forced to go into voluntary exile in 1982, in France. Then Gbagbo went back to his country and the FPI made Gbagbo their secretary general.  In April 1990, Houphouët  was pressured from the World Bank to hold the country's first election, and so he did, and he won against Gbagbo by 81.7%. Gbagbo declared that the constitution was not transparent, but the Supreme Court refused to listen to him. In 1993, Houphouët died of prostrate cancer, and the country's future was in the hands of Minister of Finance Henri Konan Bédié.  However Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim from the northern area and Bédié's strongest opponent, left the Ivory Coast to work at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C because Bédié had created a law that stated that only a candidate of pure  Ivorian descent and someone who has lived in the country for the last five years could run for elections. So Ouattara who lived in the United States and whose father was from Burkina Faso failed to qualify on both counts. After Bédié became president the economy of the country had sunken, and in December 1999, the military convinced Robert Guei to become the leader, and Bédié scared fled the country. On December 27th 1999, Robert Guei placed himself on the presidential ballot , he promised a multi-party election, but he disqualified Alassane because of the law Bedie made, so then Gbagbo was the opponent. The elections pointed that Gbagbo was the winner, however Guei ordered an official from the Interior Ministry to declare him the winner. The announcement rocked the country and tens of thousands filled the streets of Abidjan. The forces of Guei fired and killed about 60people. As the violence continued, the parliamentary police decided to join the protesters, and then the military officers. Guei was forced to flee, and Gbago declared himself president , and he was inaugurated on October 2000. In January 2001, opposition forces staged a coup, for an attempt to overthrow the government and the government forces responded quickly . Gbagbo blamed the Muslim northerners for instigating the attack. On September 19, 2002, while Gbagbo was in France, the rebellious soldiers attempted to seize the cities of Abidjan, Bouake, and Korhogo. They failed to take Abidjan, but were successful with the other two. The situation developed into a civil war between a government-held south and rebel-held north. Many people died in the conflict, including Guei. After several months of fighting, a peace agreement was reached. In April 2003, Gbagbo signed the Marcoussis Accord, which gave nine cabinent positions to rebel leaders. Gbagbo was trying to  restructure the citizenship laws to include more Muslim northerners. In exchange of this contract, opposition forces would disarm. In March 2007 he made Guillaume Soro, who was the leader of the New Forces; Prime Minister. These events strengthened Gbagbo.  

So the next candidate is Alassane Ouattara,  most of his biography, I have included in Gbagbo's, so I won't  write too much about  him. Ouattara was born on January 1 1942, in Dimbokro.  Though not much is known is about his family, we know that his father was from Burkina Faso. In fact according to rumors I have heard when I was small, his step mother was Ivorian and she raised him with an "iron hand".

He received a bachelor's of science degree in 1965 from the Drexel Institute of Technology, which is now named Drexel University. He then obtained both his master's degree in economics in 1967 and a doctorate in economics in 1972 from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an economist for the Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C from 1968 to 1973. With the BCEAO ( Central Bank of Western African States) he was then special advisor. In April 1990, Houphouët appointed Ouattara as Chairman of the International Commitee for Coordination of the Stabilization and Economic Recovery Program of Cote d'Ivoire. Ouattara became Prime Minister of Cote d'Ivoire on November 7 1990. As Prime Minister he carried presidential duties for a total of 18 months. During that time Houphouët was ill. When Houphouët died, Ouattara said these famous words,"Ivory Coast is orphaned". After that there was the law saying he could not be candidate, and so on august 2007, president Gbagbo affirmed that Ouattara could be a candidate for the next presidential elections. So Ouattara became RDR's (Rally of the Republicans)  candidate, and as you know he presented himself to the elections and now there is scrutiny.