Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo was due to be sworn in yesterday after his election victory was rejected by world leaders but accepted by the army, raising fears of a power struggle.
The election commission said Alassane Ouattara had won last Sunday’s poll with 54.1 percent, but the top legal body, citing alleged intimidation, scrapped hundreds of thousands of votes on Friday and handed victory to Gbagbo.
Residents of the main city, Abidjan, reported gunfire in several districts overnight and in Port Bouet, near the airport, they heard heavy weapons but could not say who was involved. Unconfirmed reports said two people were killed.
Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro said yesterday he recognized opposition leader Ouattara as president and offered him his resignation.
“We recognize that Alassane Ouattara is the winner of this election,” Soro, a former rebel who heads the New Forces that control the north of the country, told a news conference, referring to the disputed presidential polls.
“I have asked to go and offer him the resignation of my government and my resignation as prime minister,” he added.
There were protests yesterday in several towns, including Abidjan, but none were on a large scale. The African Union said it would send former South African president Thabo Mbeki to try to seek a solution to the crisis.
World leaders, including US President Barack Obama, the UN and the West African regional body ECOWAS said Ouattara was the clear winner of a poll meant to heal wounds after a decade of division.
The opposition cried foul, pointing out that Paul Yao N’dre, president of the Constitutional Council which reversed the poll result, is a staunch Gbagbo ally.
Ouattara’s party has warned that denying him victory would risk throwing the country back into a north-south conflict.
Former rebels, who control the northern half of the country where the votes were canceled, also backed a Ouattara win, apparently scuppering any chance this election will bring peace and reunification.
Gbagbo’s camp has rejected outside pressure, threatening to throw the UN’s top envoy out of the country.
State television showed the head of Ivory Coast’s armed forces pledging allegiance to Gbagbo.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Ouattara’s win “incontestable.”
Such comments are likely to play into the hands of Gbagbo, a master at whipping up anti-French sentiment who has accused the former colonial ruler of backing Ouattara.
Demonstrators set up roadblocks and burned tires in Abidjan, but there were no mass protests. Before the poll, the military threatened to be “merciless” with anyone causing trouble.
In Bouake, the main city in the rebel-run north, hundreds took to the streets and tires were burned.
“We want [Ouattara] as president. We don’t want Gbagbo anymore. We are tired of him,” Samba Diakite said.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be