A coalition of opposition groups in Ivory Coast threatened on Monday to try to block presidential elections in October unless the government opens talks on issues such as insecurity and the electoral commission. The National Coalition for Change (CNC), formed in May and led by former prime minister Charles Konan Banny, groups 13 political leaders, several of whom have declared themselves candidates in the Oct. 25 election. With the economy booming in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa exporter, President Alassane Ouattara is widely regarded as favourite. If no candidate wins a majority in the vote, a run-off will be held roughly two weeks later.
The CNC said it had not received replies to letters sent to Ouattara and his government expressing concerns about insecurity in parts of Ivory Coast that could hamper voting.
The coalition also said it had concerns about what it termed pro-government bias in both the voting register and the composition of the national electoral commission. “Elections cannot and must not be held in Ivory Coast if we do not sit down and talk,” said Jean-Jacques Bechio, CNC spokesman. “If our demands are not satisfied, there will be no election.”
Bechio said the CNC would use all legal means to make itself heard, referring to street protests and sit-ins. He declined to comment on the possibility of an election boycott.