Ivorians had to wait nearly 72 hours for Sunday’s presidential election results. In the last three elections, trends were announced as soon as polls closed, but not this time. Not in an election in which many felt the winner was known even before the first ballot was cast.
The Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) didn’t let out a peep, bringing out communiqués instead to warn against speculations. In the cases where results were being posted online, the CEI warned that those results did not come from its Central Commission. In other words, those results could not be trusted.
It was last night that the results finally got announced, and with not much surprise, the incumbent, Alassane Ouattara, who came to power amidst much controversy in 2011, won hands down with 83.66% of the ballots cast. A strategic alliance with the Rally of the Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), a coalition made of the biggest political party the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), as well as many other smaller parties, such as the UDPCI of the 1999 coup leader General Robert Guéi, helped secure his victory.
Mr. Ouattara’s closest adversary, Affi N’Guessan Pascal obtained 9.29% of the votes.Mr. N’Guessan, who occupied the function of Prime Minister under Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently at the Hague awaiting trial for the post-elections violence of 2011, had hoped to bring the Popular Ivorian Front (FPI) into mainstream politics, but hardliners in the Laurent Gbagbo-founded party have never acknowledged Mr. N’Guessan’s leadership. Furthermore, the opposition had called on Ivorians to boycott last Sunday’s elections, which according to many, was simply a “masquerade of an election.”
Still, about 54.63% of Ivorians went to the polls on Sunday to elect their president. Campaigns run by the Independent Electoral Commission, but also by ordinary Ivorians on social media networks, called for peace and peace again, proving just how much Ivorians no longer wanted to live in the violence which followed the second round of the 2010 elections.
Ivorians breathed a sigh of relief yesterday. A second round had been avoided, even if many are tagging the results of being “soviet-like”.
“We are happy we now have a president and we can get back to work,” is the sentiment of many Ivorians. And as if to express their seriousness to get back to work, Abidjan and other big cities in the Ivory Coast are quiet with no signs of public celebration despite the landslide victory of Mr. Ouattara.