gbagbo declares himself winner

Update:

The BBC reports that both Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo have sworn themselves in as president. It is becoming ever more apparent that Cote d’Ivoire is on the edge of plunging back into civil war.

Laurent Gbagbo, through Cote d’Ivoire’s constitutional council, has declared himself winner of the Sunday presidential runoff. Ivory Coast’s independent electoral commission and UN and other observers continue to maintain that Alassane Ouattara, the opposition candidate, won the election with 54% of the vote.

The ethnic arithmetic of the election disfavored the incumbent Mr. Gbagbo (a Bete, 6%) after the third place candidate, former president Konan Bedie (a Baoule, 23%) endorsed Mr. Ouattara (a Dioula, 1.4% but who also commands most (up to 90%) of the northern Muslim vote).

Gbagbo should not be allowed to get away with this. Cote d’Ivoire’s election was not a close call. Ouattara won, fair and square. If any unity government is formed Mr. Gbagbo can only be a junior partner in it.

Needless to say this outcome may plunge the country back into civil war, mostly along the same ethnic and regional contours as in 2002-04.

More on this on the BBC website.

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